Clay Aiken – A Proud Accomplishment


CBS hosted the 55th Grammy Awards on Sunday night.  It was nice to hear that Mumford and Sons won Album of the Year.  They are one of the few groups that I know.

Clay Aiken was not at the Grammys.  Although he is one of the best vocalists in the industry today, he is not a part of the festivities.  It used to bother me, but now I look at all the wonderfully important things that Clay has done instead.

One of my favorite past events was called Camp Gonzo.  In 2004, almost nine years ago, the Buble/Aiken Foundation raise enough money to start the program for 10 weeks.  The weeks were hosted in Concord, Kansas City, and Raleigh.  The purpose was to develop an inclusive recreational experience for children with and without disabilities

The pilot program was named Camp Gonzo.  Inclusion experts and professors in the field of special education and developmental disabilities from some of the county’s most celebrated universities created an amazing and innovative curriculum that allows all children to play alongside each other and learn from each other despite disabilities.  The program grew and developed and is now known as The National Inclusion Project’s, Let’s All Play.

Clay was interviewed by Caregiver’s Magazine in 2004.  He answered this question:

GB: What are some of the things that the foundation has done so far?

CA: Our biggest achievement is something that we’re working in this summer called “Project Gonzo,” named after a nickname I had at the Y years ago. It is a partnership with the YMCA of the USA, who are a group that I wanted to kind of kick-in-the-butt to start including individuals with disabilities. So the partnership of the YMCA/USA is to start integrating kids with disabilities into already established camp programs. We have a program now in Kansas City, at the Kansas City YMCA, and at the one in Raleigh where I worked, and one in Charlotte. We are going to provide training for the staff that already exists, hands-on stuff, and include kids with disabilities in with their regular camp program, so this will be our pilot program this summer. We will advance it further later on….

So…even though I am sad that Clay was not a part of the Grammy Awards, I can’t help thinking that Clay is more proud of this accomplishment than any Grammy Award.

The pictures of Camp Gonzo make me smile!



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11 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – A Proud Accomplishment

  1. You are absolutely right Musicfan, the work of the National Inclusion Project probably means more to clay than anything. I still hope someday he gets a Grammy though. 🙂

  2. Gonzo….lol! Ido remember that Clay's nickname was Gonzo. One day I saw a store selling little Gonzo dolls. He's about 5 inches high. I dug in that bin for and found a couple more. I attached some Clay pins on them and gave them to friends who were fans. I still have him. (wish I could attach a picture, lol) Wonderful project Clay started! Will ALWAYS be so proud of him!!

  3. I also am soooo very proud of all that Clay has accomplished over these last 10 years – he did
    exactly what he intended to do and way more – I can't wait for this years Gala !!! It is such an honor
    to be a part of the NIP in any way possible! The Award shows, Grammys, or whatever else is out
    there doesn't compare to what Clay has given his time, music, and name to. It is such an honor to
    be a Clay Fan. Big thanks to Clay and also to you, Music Fan for speaking of Clay with such high
    regard!! Clay does fill my heart! <3

  4. What adorable photos of Clay and the children, I'm more proud of him being in the NIP than being nominated at the Acadamy Awards although I most certainly think he should have been nominated. We love you Clay and are very proud of the man you are! God bless you and your work.
    Thanks Musicfan xox.

  5. I agree with everyone's posts. What could possibly be more important than doing good in the world? Winning a Grammy? No, it doesnt' compare to all the good that Clay does. However, like everyone else here, I'd like to see Clay honored by his peers. Our day will come!

  6. i also agree with everyones poasts i remeber camp gonzo and i remember that cause gonzo was clays nick name id love some day to see clay honoresd by his peers im sure that our day will come

  7. I think that Clay did attend the Grammys once with his mom. He said he was so embarrassed for her because of the dress, language, etc. of the performances. I can certainly understand how he felt. Clay is one of the good guys who doesn't have to dress, dance and talk "dirty" to make an impression. He is just an all around good person who cares about how can help others.

    • Emily….I think that was the Billboard Awards. He was there with his mom when the "comic" dog said some nasty jokes about him.

  8. Oh Musicfan ~ Every time I see photos of this or UNICEF trips or him reading to children or interacting with them on stage, my heart swells! I absolutely love his heart for children, those with and without disabilities. It was through the NIP that I found Clay in the first place (while in search of a summer camp program for my youngest daughter CJ) Wow! I am just amazed at the compassion and honestly, the love of children that emanates from the very core of his being. I feel very blessed to know who he is and of course the NIP.

  9. Clay was involved with the betterment of children long before AI. He is definitely the Measure of a Man, and I am so very proud of him. One day he will win a Grammy…after all, the man with the best voice out there should receive one. He doesn't need to lip sync, doesn't need auto-tune, and doesn't need a rapper talking through his songs. Clay's talent is pure. Thanks for the pics of Clay and the kids Musicfan. This is Clay's true passion. Inclusion!!!

  10. I am very proud of everything Clay has done in the last 10 years. The work he has done with children and the National Inclusion Program are way more redeeming than a Grammy. Of course, he should have had a Grammy already, But, I believe, his day will come.

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