For some area foster children, it was their first night in a hotel.
By ROSA MERCADO
VINDICATOR STAFF WRITER
BOARDMAN -- Twenty-six area foster children got a complimentary stay at the Holiday Inn in Boardman on Thursday night.
In celebration of its 50th anniversary, the hotel chain and the Bair Foundation -- a private Christian foster-care organization -- joined forces to offer the children a free night of fun activities, and a trip to Six Flags the next day.
Bruce Vancamp, a single foster parent of two 12-year-olds and a 16-year-old, said the idea is fantastic. "The boys couldn't wait to get to the hotel," the Tallmadge resident said. "A couple of them had never been to a hotel -- they wanted to get into the swimming pool and the exercise room."
Six to eight Holiday Inns in Northeastern Ohio were involved in the event, in which 225 foster children participated. Nancy Sullivan, sales director at the Boardman hotel, said that location hosted four families Thursday night.
"It's a nice celebration," Sullivan added. "We kind of wanted to make wishes come true -- to give to kids who don't have a lot."
Caught up in the excitement
Sullivan said that the excitement on the kids' faces was reason enough to participate. She described how one child was so excited about going to Six Flags that he asked her for a map so he could find the route himself.
"It's just so nice to see the appreciation that they have, and the parents to take their time to do this with them too," Sullivan said.
Vancamp noticed the children's excitement as well. "They couldn't sleep last night because of Six Flags," he said. "It's something that a lot of them don't get the opportunity to do."
Sullivan believes the kids are worth it. "They had a great time last night, and we truly are very proud to be a part of this."