Clay Aiken – Wonderfully Important Things

CBS hosted the 56th Grammy Awards on Sunday night. The big winner of the night was Daft Punk .The group won record of the year and album of the year.

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 ten years ago, the Bubel/Aiken Foundation raised 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:

CM: 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!

 What Do You Think?

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10 thoughts on “Clay Aiken – Wonderfully Important Things

  1. Clay has chosen the better path – I am not a fan of "award' shows anymore! Thank you for the above
    report – all that he has done is sooo much better than "ANY" award!. With his heart and soul he
    has won more than any award show could possibly give!

  2. Yes, Clay does way more important things than being part of the Grammies festivities, I'm more proud of what he has done the past years and what he's still doing now, he's a very special loving and caring person, and my favorite singer, God bless him. Thanks Musicfan xox

  3. No award can compare to the accomplishments and the difference that Clay has made in the lives of children as well as adults with or without disabilities. And that is the only thing that matters to us "Claymates" 😉

  4. Clay is aiming a lot higher than a grammy award. He is concerned about how folks are treated, both children and adults. Perhaps he will make a difference in Congress, or elsewhere. I'm in his cheering section.

  5. This has always been first and foremost in Clay's thoughts, since the beginning. It's always been important to him, "to make a difference". He just took a detour for a few years. I didn't watch the Grammy's last night, and I haven't for years. I think back to when Clay off of Idol. He had the biggest single of the year. Clay was presented a double platinum for "Measure of a Man", (after only 1 week from release) and he didn't even receive a Grammy nomination. He has sold over 6 million units, and never once, got a nod, where others from Idol had, with nowhere near the sales. Something fishy???? You betcha.

    I'm so glad that Clay is following his heart and is doing what he feels is right. I admire a man who doesn't sell out. I'm a life long fan…and will continue to be.

  6. no award in the world can compare to clay and all his amazing acomplashments and the difference clay has made in his fans lives and kids lives and adults lives who have or dont have disabilityes and that is what matters to the claymates

  7. There are 3 things I have to say about Mr. Clay starting Camp Gonzo: "Amen, Halleluiah & Have Some Mercy!" (Oops, sorry! That's a line from "Full House.") =-) Hope everyone in the Clay nation had a wonderful Monday!

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