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Making a Difference – McDonald’s supports Camp Royall


The following article is by Kristy White, the Autism Society of North Carolina’s Director of Development.

The 1st Annual Camp Royall Classic was sponsored by McDonald’s at The Preserve at Jordan Lake Golf Course on May 7th. Over $33,000 was raised from golf participants and sponsors to send individuals with autism to Camp Royall this summer. One hundred and forty-four golfers participated in the inaugural event.

Everyone was a winner at the Camp Royall Classic.

The vision for this event and leadership support came from Paul Willoughby, a McDonald’s owner/operator. Paul visited Camp Royall and was so impressed with the impact it was making on individuals with autism and their families that he wanted to ensure that more people, especially those living in Chatham County, were aware of Camp Royall. Through his support a grant was obtained from Ronald McDonald House Charities to create the camp’s Snoezelen Room, a MultiSensory Environment (MSE) room and efforts began to plan the Camp Royall Classic.

Paul’s son, Rex Willoughby was instrumental in the planning for the golf tournament by recruiting teams and sponsors and overseeing the details of the tournament, which made it such a unique and fun event for all involved. Rex shared, “After hearing the stories of the families whose lives have been changed as a result of Camp Royall, it was important to me that everyone knows about the camp and have the opportunity to participate. As a father, I can understand the desire to have your child experience the joys of camp and the importance of a time of rest for parents. I am determined to continue to raise funds and increase opportunities for the individuals with autism in our state.”

The golfers enjoyed a beautiful day on the course as well as time for fellowship while awaiting the tournament results. Ronald McDonald even made an appearance posing for photos will all of the teams. All of the proceeds from the Camp Royall Classic support scholarships for individuals with autism to participate in a structured program of activities according to their abilities and interests in an environment that is safe and celebrates each camper for who they are. Francine Levesque explained what it means for her family to be awarded a scholarship, “Receiving a scholarship to Camp Royall means that my son doesn’t feel left out, while his peers are able to go to Boy Scout camp. When my son attended last summer for the first time, he actually cried on the last day, an emotion very rare for someone with autism. I am so appreciative of the donation that enables my child to make memories.”

Click here for more information on getting involved like the Willoughbys, click here to make a gift to Camp Royall to support families like the Levesques, click here to see photos from the 2012 tournament, and sign up here to receive information about the 2013 Camp Royall Classic.


Thanks McDonald’s Owner Operators!

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