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Fresh Air Kids, Hosts Enjoy Farewell Picnic

Host families from around the Lehigh Valley attend a picnic with their Fresh Air kids who leave to go home to New York City today.

Fresh Air Fund children and their Lehigh Valley host familes converged on a farm in Upper Milford Wednesday for an end-of-the-visit picnic.

The crowd included many of the 31 Fresh Air children who came from New York City 10 days ago and leave to return home today, according to Jenae Holtzhafer, fund representative for the Fresh Air Fund in the Lehigh Valley and a Patch columnist. 

The picnic was at the home of Holtzhafer's parents, Keith and Terri Wolfe, and featured hot dog eating contests, pony rides, acting games, face painting and other activities. 

Nancy Salomon of Lower Macungie, who hosted 10-year-old Destiny Bay of Manhattan, said the 10 days have been a whirlwind of trips and experiences for her whole family. 

They took Destiny to Dorney Park twice, Valley Forge, Shankweiler's Drive-In in Schnecksville, the Lehigh Valley Zoo and miniature golfing, among other places. Salomon said she expected to collapse from exhaustion when the visit was over but that it's been a good experience for the whole crew. The Fresh Air kids "have to plunge right in and be part of the family," she said.

Bill Wolfe of South Whitehall, whose family hosted Janey Carter, 7, of the Bronx, also said it had been a busy 10 days for them. They had spent three days at the beach and his wife had taken Janey to the Da Vinci Science Center, as well as hiking and other activities.

Wolfe said he and his wife were use to their home being a hangout for their kids' friends, so having an extra child in the house felt normal.

And as for Janey? When asked to point out her host parents, she headed over to Wolfe saying, "I'll get Dad."   

Melissa Moyer-Schneck August 23, 2012 at 12:25 PM
It was a busy week! Our family enjoyed the experience but we all could really use a nap! Lol
Jenae Holtzhafer August 23, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Thanks to Margie for coming out to capture our very special night. It's always so hard to say goodbye to our Fresh Air visitors, but the smiles on their faces while they're here make it all worth while. And next summer will be here before we know it! If anyone is interested in learning more about the Fresh Air Fund, especially here in the Lehigh Valley, please feel free to contact me at LVFreshAir@gmail.com We have a goal of finding 100 host families for the 2013 summer season. Singles, couples with kids and couples without kids are welcome to host! Our trips are 7 days, 10 days or 14 days and you get to choose what's best for you. You can request the gender and age of your Fresh Air child. It's such an amazing opportunity to show them something different and build a lifelong relationship that could make a true difference! We also have a neat Fresh Air Facebook group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/144760602212551/ for anyone who is interested in seeing more photos and staying connected. Volunteers are always welcome, even if you don't want to host!
Jenae Holtzhafer August 23, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Here are two links to video clips from WFMZ that offer some additional info on the program: http://www.wfmz.com/news/Sunrise/Program-gives-inner-city-kids-some-fresh-air-this-summer/-/409464/16087070/-/d2vm1s/-/index.html http://www.wfmz.com/news/Fresh-Air-Fund-kids-arrive-in-the-Lehigh-Valley/-/121458/16096648/-/keurwm/-/index.html

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