To remember Michael Scholz, to keep his memory alive, and to bring joy to children, a scholarship for the past 18 years under his name has allowed youth to enjoy Michael’s Magic Camp — established to celebrate the passion for the outdoors.
It was the same passion displayed by Scholz, a Key Biscayne resident who died at age 30 in a car accident in Cuba. The Michael Scholz Memorial Charitable Fund has, for almost two decades, allowed children to enjoy the camp through scholarships.
The scholarships cover four weeks of summer camp, which starts July 12, at the Marjory Stoneman Douglas Biscayne Nature Center. The Trust selected the center to hold the camp because Michael, as a Key Biscayne child, explored Key Biscayne’s nature and loved the water — and fishing, kayaking, swimming — which is what the nature center’s camp is all about.
“It was a perfect fit,” said Theodora Long, executive director of the center, who added the value of the scholarships is $1,980.
Michael’s Magic Camp was established to celebrate the passion for the outdoors displayed by Scholz, and to honor the magical way in which he brought people together and touched their lives.
The fund’s mission is to teach young people how to preserve and protect South Florida’s fragile environment and ecosystem. Special emphasis is placed on reaching youth who face challenges, such as those who live at or below the federal poverty line, who are mentally or physically disabled or abused, and others who lack opportunities to experience South Florida’s unique tropical beauty, according to the Key Biscayne Community Foundation website.
The expectation is that environmental education will increase admiration and respect for nature, resulting in a desire to protect and better care for our fragile environmental ecosystem. It is through the fund’s diverse initiatives that young people learn about the environment.
Michael’s Magic Camp is being held from July 12 until Aug. 6, Monday thru Friday, from 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. Camp is for ages 8 to 12, with activities including seagrass adventures, kayaking, paddle-boarding, snorkeling, arts and crafts, yoga, mangrove slogging and swimming.
“We were hoping for this year to open the scholarships to under-served workers on Key Biscayne who had children in the ages of 8 to 12,” said Long.
“They could drop their children off in the morning at the Nature Center in Crandon Park and pick them up after work. We will have aftercare for those who work, until 5 p.m."
“It is our way of helping people … whose children may not be able to afford a $500 a week camp and allow their children to experience a month of fun at the beach on the Island Paradise.”
Born Oct. 27, 1972, Michael’s interest and enjoyment of South Florida began at an early age. The abundance of outside activities and the unique tropical environment brought him “home” regardless of wherever else he traveled.
Michael’s mother, Susan Scholz Rubin, has been involved in the camp from the very beginning, Long said. His nieces have been counselors at the camp for many years, and this year his nephew, CJ, will become a counselor, Long said.
The Board of Directors from the MSMCF also has been very involved in the camp, deciding the best activities, and who should be awarded the scholarships.