The Issue: Several Nevada women are involved in a service club in Ames that helps young girls have a camp experience. They are looking to expand and start a new Nevada chapter of the national organization.

The Impact: A new T.T.T. group in Nevada would not only open up membership opportunities for adults to be involved in another service outlet; but it would also open up possibly more opportunities for young girls to experience going to a summer camp, which can open the doors to many new experiences.

A new service group opportunity may be coming to Nevada.

T.T.T. (pronounced Tri-T) is a national organization that focuses on the mission of sending young girls to camp.

“Our National Project is a summer camp experience,” said Jen Buckingham, president of Chapter Iowa BI out of Ames. “We (in T.T.T.) believe camping creates an atmosphere that provides each girl with the opportunity to learn her own worth, develop initiative, learn self-expression and live in harmony with others.”

Since 2014, the BI chapter of T.T.T. has sent 12 Nevada girls and 11 Ames girls to camp in the summer. The girls are “deserving fourth grade girls,” who will be going into fifth grade. T.T.T. members say they work with people at the schools to determine which girls will be selected to participate.

Several Nevada women, including Kathy Kockler, Nevada High School graduate Marisa Myhre and former Nevada resident Sherry Bullock, as well as retired member Gwen Ward, who still helps out, have joined the BI Chapter of T.T.T. And now, they are hoping to help drive the formation of a new Nevada chapter, which will require, for one thing, some new members.

T.T.T. stands for Time, Talents and Treasures. As Kockler explained, these gifts of its members are used to create the camp opportunities for young girls. Girls are sent, she said, to camps that are offered by qualified organizations, like YMCA or 4-H. “Camps must be accredited with the American Camping Association for quality in leadership, programming and health and safety.”

Kockler, who is camp chair for her chapter, got involved in T.T.T. back in 2004, when she was invited by a friend who was in the local chapter. “I have always enjoyed being around children and considered this was a worthwhile cause which I could contribute to. Camp atmosphere gives each girl an opportunity to learn her own self-worth and learn self-expression, (how to) develop ideas and live in harmony with others.” Kockler likes that campers get to be outside with nature and have what could be a life-changing experience. It’s “so important,” she stressed, “and an experience (that without T.T.T.) they might not otherwise have.”

Buckingham has been involved in T.T.T. since 1977. “I was first introduced through my mother-in-law who was a member of Iowa BI,” she said. “When I joined, many of the Iowa BI members were teachers whom I knew and had worked with. Most of our members have been invited to join by someone in the group who knew they would be interested in the camping project.”

Iowa BI participates in the annual Nevada garage sale, which is one of many fundraisers for the local T.T.T. “Profits from our garage sale provide enough money to send anywhere from two to three girls to camp each year,” said Kockler. “Since a lot of our garage sale customers are from Nevada, it made sense to reach out to Nevada schools, too,” she added, which explains how girls from Nevada started to become recipients of the camp experience.

Along with the camp experience, T.T.T. gets involved with girls in other ways. “T.T.T. takes the girls shopping for camp clothes and provides everything else needed for camp. We have ‘getting to know you’ picnics before camp. After camp, members have a scrapbooking party using photos taken before, during and after camp (in the scrapbooks),” she said.

Girls who have been to camp then become part of what T.T.T. calls the Camper Club (which for BI currently includes 19 girls from Ames and 11 from Nevada), and those girls are invited to continue to be active in their community through a variety of service events. They have baked, decorated and delivered Valentine’s cookies to local veterans in nursing homes. Some of the girls recently gathered at the Nevada Historical Society’s property, Evergreen Lane, to have a “pay-it-forward” day, by helping clean up the garden areas on the property in preparation for winter.

Camper Club members have been sponsored to attend an all-day “Young Women in Business” conference at Iowa State University, for which they were accompanied by T.T.T. members Buckingham and Jocelyn Wilson. Camper Club members took part in a personal care event, presented by a cosmetologist and esthetician (a former Camper Club member herself), who now works at Finesse. Camper Club members have gone on tours and helped with various other T.T.T. events.

For Kockler, the organization offers a great group of members and fun projects to be involved in. “We have a craft group and sewing group,” she said, and those involved in these groups help to make the items T.T.T. sells at conventions and craft fairs, like the upcoming Nevada ABWA Craft Fair, where they will have a stand. Members get involved in selling things like RADA knives, nuts and dried fruits. Members have an annual Bridge Party Marathon.

All the events that members help with are essential to the group’s mission, and allow Chapter BI to send three Nevada girls and three Ames girls to camp each year.

Bullock is an Iowa State member of the T.T.T. organization and a member of the recently formed National Membership Committee. She said the possibility of starting a new chapter in Nevada is exciting. Since she has not been involved in starting a chapter before, she’s working with both the state board of T.T.T. and the national board to learn the procedures and distribute the necessary information.

“Right now, our goal is to get residents (in Nevada) familiar with T.T.T. and what we do,” she said. She wants Nevada residents to keep their eyes open for upcoming updates about a possible chapter in Nevada, and she wants anyone interested in becoming a member to contact her at 515-238-5053 or talk to Kathy Kockler or another member of the group.