Can't make it down to New Orleans for Mardi Gras? Head to Shagwong Tavern & Restaurant in Montauk on Saturday, February 10 where Camp SoulGrow, a Montauk-based non-profit creative camp for children, will bring a lively taste of The Big Easy during the fourth annual Mardi Gras in Montauk
"I'm born and raised in New Orleans. I lost my home in Hurricane Katrina in 2005, and had been living in the City for a while. When I came out to Montauk and decided to start Camp SoulGrow, I wanted to make it a 501(c)(3) charity so that people that supported and donated would have an incentive and get something back from it - whether it be a tax deduction or just having it be something that is known that it is for the greater good of the children," Camp SoulGrow's founder London Rosiere told us. "With that - and keeping it no fee and donation operated - we're not receiving x amount of dollars every day."
To support the charity, she turned to her hometown for inspiration. "I knew I needed to throw a fundraiser and I said what better way to throw a fundraiser in the middle of winter when there's not much going on and be able to bring the New Orleans flavor and spice and fun and soul to Montauk?" she explained. "So, the past three years it's been such a success and so much fun for adults."
Camp SoulGrow is completely reliant upon donations. (Photo: Kathleen Doran)
From 7 to 10 p.m., attendees will enjoy unlimited Cajun eats - think crawfish, fried chicken, jambalaya, gumbo, and more - provided by Shagwong head chef Andrew Doran, as well as unlimited beer courtesy of Montauk Brewing Company.
"For $25 you get an amazing dinner, endless drinks, and an amazing band," Rosiere noted. "We'll have a raffle and the money goes to Camp SoulGrow."
Revel in Dimes is headlining the benefit and there will also be several auction prizes, and essential Mardi Gras accessories.
"We have all the beads and we have all the throws (masks, trinkets, etc.) - it looks like you're at Mardi Gras and you feel like you're at Mardi Gras," she said. "Everybody's having a good time and the bonus is that it's for the kids."
Mardi Gras in Montauk will feature amazing food, delicious sips, entertaining sets, and more. (Photo: Kathleen Doran)
Camp SoulGrow is completely reliant upon donations. There is no set fee for any of their programs, meaning admission to each event is based on the honor system. Rosiere set it up this way so that children were not limited because of their family's income.
"We have our bus and liability insurance due in March so we really need to raise money," Rosiere said. The organization is also trying to raise funds for a new software program for their website that would make signing up for a class much more efficient, especially during the summer season when Camp SoulGrow presents nearly 100 workshops.
If your little ones feel left out of the festivities, mark your calendar because Camp SoulGrow is hosting its 4th annual Presidents' Week. From Monday, February 19 through Friday, February 23, children can stop by the Camp SoulGrow Studio in Montauk to participate in five different workshops that will take place from 1 to 2:30 p.m.
Monday will feature music with Laura Maruzzella, Tuesday will cover recycle art with Kate Nicolai, on Wednesday, Camp SoulGrow is taking a field trip to Body Tech, via the SoulGrow Bus, for fitness with Merete Cavanaugh, Thursday will tackle crafting with Eileen Devlin, and Friday will focus on baking with Karl Stork.
Revel in Dimes is headlining the benefit. (Photo: Kathleen Doran)
Camp SoulGrow's mission is to present creative learning opportunities and adventures that allow children to pursue new interests, learn to be open-minded, discover new talents, nurture confidence, and provide a place where new friendships can form. The organization, which was founded in July of 2014, aims to inspire youth. Since it was launched, Camp SoulGrow has hosted over 463 workshops that were attended by over 755 kids, opened three locations, bought and painted a 23-passenger bus.
Rosiere hopes the programming helps Camp SoulGrowers build a better future.
Admission to Mardi Gras in Montauk
is $25, and wristbands will be available at the door.
"It really is so much fun," she added.
To sign up for 4th annual Presidents' Week, email Info@CampsoulGrow.org
Shagwong Tavern & Restaurant is located at 774 Montauk Highway in Montauk. For more information, visit www.campsoulgrow.org.