Enkindled Spirits: Daniel Gottshall

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Daniel Gottshall, 10, was disappointed when he found out the American Youth Foundation would not be able to welcome campers to Miniwanca in 2020. His family has spent many summers at Miniwanca and Merrowvista.

Daniel is a fourth-generation camper who has attended Miniwanca for two years. His mother, Abbey Cleveland, and aunt, Ruth Cleveland, attended as children; Ruth was a camper and leader at Merrowvista, too. Daniel’s grandmother, Louise “Weezie” Orcutt Cleveland, attended Miniwanca, and his great-grandmother, Do Toren Orcutt, was a leader and athletic director in camp’s early years. (Daniel noted that he is the first in his family to attend Boys Camp.)

While earning virtual badges during Invincible Summer, Daniel came upon the fundraising badge and had an idea. He could earn his Founder Medal and give back to the AYF – with tomatoes. Daniel’s family vegetable garden had become a “tomato forest” over the summer, and there were too many cherry tomatoes for his family to eat. What if, he thought, he could offer friends and neighbors a pint of homegrown produce in exchange for a donation to the AYF?

With his mom’s help marketing his wares on NextDoor, a social networking app, Daniel found several neighbors eager for fresh cherry tomatoes and to donate to a good cause. Daniel raised $250 for the AYF in just a few weeks – and earned his Founder Medal for the summer.