Fire, losses can't keep campers away from Albrecht Acres - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Fire, losses can't keep campers away from Albrecht Acres

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DUBUQUE COUNTY (KWWL) -

Camp officials at Camp Albrecht Acres in Dubuque County now say a fire from mid-May caused between $300,000 and $400,000 in damage -- but they managed to get everything back on schedule.

Despite the heavy losses, which included all of the camp's canned goods and a majority of their meat for the summer, the recreational camp for people with special needs started on time this year.

"To say it's perfect, no, probably not," said Eric Veltstra, executive director of the camp. "But pretty near perfect.  Everything is running."

Campers arrived Sunday, none the wiser to the fact staff members have been spending 12-hour days at the camp to get things ready for their arrival.

"Honestly, I just knew we would be able to pull it together," said Elaine Erickson, the summer camp director. 

Veltstra said they've received a lot of donations to help replace the items they lost in the fire, including more than 900 stuffed animals from one local organization.

And all that hard work, he says, became worth it when the first of his 55 campers for the week showed up.

"It's been fun. I mean, it was some relief and some exhaustion involved in the whole process, of course," Veltstra said. "But it's fun to see everyone here and business as usual. I mean, some of them don't even realize what this place looked like two weeks ago."

Veltstra said right now they're just buying supplies on a week-to-week basis, and they've had to cut down on the number of campers they can accept each week.

He also said they're still looking for donations to help cover the costs and losses from the fire.

If you'd like to donate, visit http://albrechtacres.org/howtohelp.html.

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