Saturday, June 07, 2008

Bubel/Aiken Funds 30+ Camps

WHEN YOU'RE WITH ME, I BREATHE EASY -- In this handsome graphic, Cindilu2 added a lovely quote to her design with photo by Claylily.

30+ Let's ALL Play Camps

TBAF Presents $500k in Grants

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation, co-founded by entertainer Clay Aiken, recently announced more than $500,000 in grants to support 30+ programs nationwide as part of the organization's Let's ALL Play program.

Earlier this week, ran the story about the grant for Central Oregon: Clay Aiken's Foundation Gives $10,000 to Bend Park District.

Bend Metro Park and Recreation District was one of the recipients of $10,000 toward enhancing its inclusive programs.

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation looks to create communities where ALL children can learn, live, and play together. Let's ALL Play brings an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities by giving them the same experience as children without. Because of the Foundation's support, children will participate in inclusive programs, some for the first time.

Using this grant money, Bend Metro Park and Recreation District will be able to expand inclusion staff, receive a program model and training from TBAF, continue toward achieving the goal of Let's ALL Play, which is to assist child and youth organizations in moving toward full inclusion.

Photo courtesy of The Bubel/Aiken Foundation

Further information about the Let's All Play program, including goals, history, and partnerships, can be read in the press release at TBAF website.
Let's ALL Play brings an inclusive recreational experience to children with disabilities by giving them the same experience as children without. Children come together to participate in activities such as swimming, arts and crafts, community service, and physical fitness.

The Bubel/Aiken Foundation looks to create communities where ALL children can learn, live, and play together. With over 30 programs in 2008 implementing inclusive programs, the Foundation will take a big step toward that goal.

“We’re very excited about the opportunities these grants will bring to so many children. The Bubel/Aiken Foundation is proud to support the efforts of organizations across the country as they move toward full inclusion,” said Clay Aiken, co-founder of the foundation.

See What People Are Saying for heartwarming feedback from appreciative parents of previous summer camp participants. All of the 2008 grant recipients are listed here.

Screen cap by ClayIzzaQT links to CNN video.

Denise Quann of CNN interviewed Clay during the AOL Sessions taping in May. Among the topics discussed are the singer's thoughts about On My Way Here, why he prefers living in North Carolina, why he is so guarded about his private life, and dealing with the tabloids. This is not to be missed!

Encounter Recalls Book Donations

In the five years since its inception, the Clay Nation has supported TBAF through monetary donations, as well as volunteer participation. An extraordinary example of CA fan gifts occurred in the commemoration of Clay's 29th birthday at the Christmas in the Heartland Concert in Kalamazoo, MI, Nov. 30. 2007.

Concert-goers from 26 states donated children's books at the concert while countless fans not in attendance mailed similar donations. (See Clay Nation Includes Kalamazoo from the 11/26/07 story in the local Gazette.)

The Kalamazoo beneficence is remembered because of a Clay fan's amazing experience this past week. Claymatron's post about the incident at Clayversity has since traveled across Clay Cyberspace to other message boards. If you missed the story, here it is in her own words:

I was supposed to have yesterday off, but my boss asked if I could cover for her. While I was working, a couple, headed to the Toronto airport to pick up the wife's 88-year-old mother, came in to purchase a bottle of wine. I didn't ask why they were in Stratford, but I assumed it was for the festival; and when they paid with American money, I asked where they were from.

"Kalamazoo, MI," they replied. I told them I had been there in November for a Christmas concert because I am a Clay Aiken fan. They looked at each other in amazement and proceeded to tell explain that she is Director of Business for the
Kalamazoo Communities in Schools and that they were the recipients of all the books donated by Clay fans on his birthday.

The couple said everyone was thrilled with Clay and his "Claymates." Copies of "Our Friend Mikayla" went to all the schools in Kalamazoo, and that was a huge hit. They were very grateful for all that happened.

Talk about a small world. The woman asked if I was part of the busload of Canadians who attended the concert. I was and told her we had contributed books, too. She came over and gave me a big hug. Her husband shook my hand and told me it was a pleasure to meet me.

What an extraordinary experience. If I had not gone to work on my day off, I would have missed this wonderful encounter!

PHOTO INTERLUDE: Pictures from On My Way Here photo shoots, as well as Clay's promo appearances, have been incorporated into this clickable interlude. Included are graphics by Cindilu2, photos by Eric Ogden, 1; Amazing_CA, photo by ShineinNC, 2; Amazing_CA, Getty photo, 3; Amazing_CA, photo by Tiggy52winkle; and Claystruck, photos by Ogden, 5.

Fans Share OMWH, Streams

While a second wave of CD promos is still weeks away, fans continue to share On My Way Here with family, friends, and associates. Besides gifting the CD, Clay's Internet supporters continue to email links to webisodes, YouTube montages, and online performance streams:

* Five-song video performance at
AOL Sessions.
* Audio song tracks at
AOL Music.
* The OMWH video at
Yahoo Music.
Clay Aiken's MySpace, which features three songs from OMWH.

The lead single "On My Way Here" is receiving some radio play. However, sharing the CD in the manner listed above is helping to spread the word.

This is an awesome album with lots of variety, sung by the best voice on the planet. The CD sells itself when others hear it. Three Saturday comments about "Ashes" and "What I Don't Need" on AOL Sessions echo the litany -- OMWH sells itself when others hear it. The CD must be heard!

A friend of mine recommended I listen to "Something About Us," and I thought I'd check out the other songs. Where have I been? This guy is great. Why haven't I heard about this CD?

This is Clay Aiken? Wow! Who would have thought that he could do this kind of song? I thought he was all ballads. Nicely done. I may have to pick up this CD.

I'm a huge fan of Eric Clapton and Bonnie Raitt. This song [Everything I Don't Need] reminds me of ole time blues RB. This CD seems to be very unique. Guess I'll have to go download on ITunes. This man can really sing.

New Montages Feature CD Songs

Among the new fan montages featuring songs from the CD are Aspiegirl's As Long As We're Here; On My Way Here by Cate; and Forget I Ever Knew You by Suereu. Several others are linked in the May 28 and May 21 blogs below.

Through a variety of TV clips and fan stage door videos, Yollie950 has provided an amazing look back at Clay's Broadway run:
Clay Aiken - Spamalot Scrapbook.

Kai's Music Lessons
Morning adventures - Clickable.

Our Version of 'Baby Einstein'

One of my morning joys is a two-hour play session with Kai, which includes his favorite TV shows; toys that either make music, noise, or both; and a physical work-out for both of us. He loves to jump, dance, and fly through the air; and he delights in all Grandma Caro's added sound effects.

Our musical specialty is a five-note piano on loan from my sister's grandchildren. With Kai adding an obbligato of sorts, I have introduced him to Beethoven's "Ode to Joy," "The Gift To Be Simple," and "Hot Dog, Hot Dog, Hot Diggity Dog" from the Mickey Mouse Playhouse. Kai is already preparing for a musical career because he sings a new song every time he plays the toy piano.

We also beat a variety of objects on our pillow drum, including a real maraca (seen in the above picture), blocks that make noise, and anything else that strikes our fancy. Truly our own version of Baby Einstein.

Saturday morning while his mother went grocery shopping I changed a diaper for the first time in 30-odd years. I was prepared for the possibility of male waterworks but not for a pamper with new-fangled adhesive tabs. Next time I try something "new" I think I'll take lessons myself.

Below are clickables of the lead graphic and two June calendars. If you would like a widescreen version, here is Cindilu2's Yuku link:

Have a fantastic weekend, Clay Nation!


This blog is also posted at the Official Clay Aiken Fan Club.

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China Pattern said...

I certainly enjoyed reading your latest blog. Thanks for the update on the Let's All Play programs for 2008.

Sandy said...

Good morning Caro,
I am back but am emotionally and physically exhausted. Our trip to NYC is just over a week away and I am so looking forward to getting away from it all and for some quiet peace and relaxation.

I am so proud of what Clay's foundation has accompolished and hearing this news is exciting.

I just finished watching a couple of the video's that you have linked and of course Aspiegirl's "As Long As We're Here" was fantastic. She brings us to another world in the way she captures the pictures and brings them alive!

I have enjoyed reading about your time spent with Kai...I just know he will be another great musician in your family. How could he not be...he has one of the BEST TEACHERS around! But 30 years since you changed a diaper...goodness girl where have you been! How I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall when you prepared to do this feat!

As Connor's dad is still on his honeymoon we picked him up yesterday at his mom's and had a great day with him. Took him to see "Kung Fu Panda" which he loved and then today is our company's family picnic with free mini putt and go cart racing for the kids. We must have tired him out yesterday as he is still sleeping.

On Friday our neighbour stopped by with his 10 month old grandson...who said "if I had of known grandchildren were this much fun, I would have had them first". I totally agreed with him.

Have a great week!