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SPRINGFIELD — Together with Urban League of Springfield Inc. President and CEO Henry Thomas III, U.S. Rep. Richard Neal, chair of the House Committee on Ways and Means, announced a $450,000 earmark for the Urban League’s Camp Atwater located on Lake Lashaway in North Brookfield.

The allocation was made possible through congressional directed spending from the departments of Housing and Urban Development. Neal included funding for this project in the FY 2022 spending bill that was signed into law earlier this year.

“Right here in the First Congressional District of Massachusetts, we are so lucky to have Camp Atwater, the oldest African-American camp in the country and the only camp listed on the National Register of Historic Places,” Neal said. “Under the leadership of Henry Thomas, the camp continues to grow and fulfill its mission of providing a safe space for our youth to grow academically and socially. I look forward to seeing the transformation of Camp Atwater with these funds.”

As Camp Atwater looks toward its second century of service to the community, the Urban League of Springfield will put these funds toward its capital and endowment campaign that seeks to modernize and revitalize the camp’s physical facilities and grounds. Long-term, the campaign will enable Camp Atwater to expand the number of youths served each year and be open year-round. Short-term, the project will provide significant upgrades to key camp buildings, including the camper cabins, bathhouse, infirmary building, and staff accommodations.

“Thank you to our Congressman Richie Neal for bringing home these funds to support the development of our youth in Springfield and beyond,” Thomas said. “This earmark will go a long way in ensuring that Camp Atwater can continue to provide programs for young men and women for generations to come. Since its founding in 1921, Camp Atwater has served nearly 60,000 youth. We look forward to continuing to serve many, many more.”

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