Clay Aiken – What’s Important?


Tonight is the 58th Annual Grammy Awards. They will take place at the Staples Center in Los Angeles and will air on CBS. It is one of the most important nights in the field of music.

LL Cool J will be leading the telecast for the 5th year. You might know him from NCIS: Los Angeles.

A rapper by the name of Kendrick Lamar has been nominated for 11 Grammys, followed by Taylor Swift who has seven nominations.

I am looking forward to seeing the Grammy-nominated cast from Hamilton. The cast will perform a number at the Richard Rodgers Theatre in New York. The Grammy audience will see their performance via satellite.

Clay Aiken will not be at the Grammys.  Although he is one of the best vocalists around, 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 twelve 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:

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 will not be 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!

Will you be watching the Grammy’s tonight?

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  1. Frankly, I never watch the Grammys. Not because of Clay, but it just doesn't appeal to me!
    In my opinion, Clay is a winner in my book! He has accomplished so much in his career; professionally and personally! Love the pictures and the article!

  2. Didn't watch the Grammys and I agree–Clay has accomplhed so much beyond singing and having one of the most beautiful voices in our time. I don't think awards mean all that much to him. He can be proud of all he has done–I know I sure am!!

  3. I haven't watched the Grammys for many years. I might check it out tonight because there isn't any thing else in the program schedule that I'm interested in. I'm sure Clay enjoyed his time in the spotlight several years ago at the awards shows, but now he has a lot more to be proud of. He is making a difference where it really counts.

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