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Mount Horeb parents honor 10-year-old son’s memory with scholarships to his favorite camp

Published: Jun. 23, 2021 at 1:07 PM CDT|Updated: Jun. 23, 2021 at 6:24 PM CDT
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MOUNT HOREB, Wis. (WMTV) - The parents of a Mount Horeb boy, who unexpectedly died in 2018, are giving other children the opportunity to attend their son’s favorite summer activity, Camp Invention.

Valette Piper-Bledsoe and Alex Bledsoe said their son Charlie, who died at 10 years old, was a one-of-a-kind kid.

“He loved creating things. There’s a theory that the world is made up of users and makers, and he was a maker. He would take things apart and put them back together. He loved Legos, he loved drawing,” said Charlie’s father, Alex.

Those traits drew Charlie to Camp Invention year after year. “It is a STEM camp for kids entering 1st through 6th grade and they just get to create and innovate, take things apart, put them back together, use their imagination, make new things,” explained Christine Parmley, Camp Invention Director.

The Mount Horeb School District is a host for the national program, which offers activities inspired by some of the world’s greatest inventors.

“He would come home so fired up to show me all the things that he had made and all the things that he had learned,” said Charlie’s mother, Valette.

To continue honoring Charlie, Valette and Alex recently partnered with the National Inventors Hall of Fame to create an endowment fund that will provide scholarships for other kids to attend Camp Invention. “We wanted other kids, no matter whether they could afford to come to camp or not, to be able to have that same experience,” said Valette.

The long-term goal is to raise $25,000.

“The idea of the endowment is it reaches a certain amount and then it’s kind of self-sustaining. So we take the interest from the endowment which is managed by the National Inventors Hall of Fame, which runs the Camp Invention program and they manage it in Charlie’s honor,” explained Valette.

The camp costs $235 for the week, so this fund is expected to provide hundreds of scholarships to Mount Horeb students in the years to come.

“The thing that we want to pass on is that he really loved life. He loved creativity, he loved projects, he loved Camp Invention. I know we’re prejudice, but he was a pretty amazing kid,” said Valette.

The scholarship isn’t the only memorial for Charlie in town. An anonymous person made a donation in Charlie’s name to the Mount Horeb Public Library and asked that something be done with the money to inspire other kids.

The library recruited the help of honor program students at Mount Horeb High School to paint a mural, which was recently installed inside the library. The piece’s main character is, of course, Charlie Bledsoe.

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