Posted by Bill Osborne on Oct 03, 2019
Mary Kitchen's, Founder and Director of the Mississippi's Toughest Kids Foundation spoke to the Rotary Club of North Jackson at the Club's October 1, 2019 meeting. Mrs. Kitchens, who is married to Ms. Supreme Court Justice Jim Kitchens, discussed the founding of the Foundation and the creation of its camp, Camp Kamassa,  located in northwest Copiah County. The word Kamassa is a Choctaw word meaning tough, persevering, and not giving up. Per Kitchens, this definition describes the campers for which the camp is designed. It is located on a 326-acre parcel owned by the Foundation. Every building and every facility in the camp is handicapped accessible. The loans with which the property was purchased has been paid off. The camp is being built by U. S. military reservists under the Innovative Readiness Training (IRT) Initiative of the Defense Department. Military personnel from throughout the U.S. work on the camp as part of their annual training. Kitchens said that they do not have a long term commitment for the availability of IRT personnel, but they do have a commitment for 2020. 

The toughest kids name reflects on the fact that the campers are all affected by debilitating childhood diseases from cancer to visual and hearing impairments, HIV, brain injuries, Tourette Syndrome, Celiac disease, and other diseases that hamper children. The long term goal for the camp is that when these children become adults, there will be a camp for them to enjoy.


We thank Kitchens for her speech to our club and for her commitment to the children of Mississippi. She is shown below during her presentation and with Club President Greg Campbell, and Club member Larry Anderson who introduced her. Anderson is holding the plan of Camp Kamassa.