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University of Iowa News Release

May 14, 2003

(Photo: Mark Sidel, UI professor of law)

UI Law Professor Sidel Helps Cedar Rapids YMCA's Camp Wapsie Obtain Gift

UI law professor Mark Sidel recently helped the YMCA of the Cedar Rapids Metropolitan Area obtain $488,000 from the estate of a Johnson County resident who died more than 50 years ago to help children from the county attend Camp Wapsie and participate in other YMCA activities.

The money, from the bequest of Catherine Hope, had originally been intended for use by the YMCA in Iowa City to support the youth of Johnson County. When the YMCA showed no signs of rapid development in Iowa City in the late 1980s, the money was transferred to the YMCA of the USA, with a stipulation that the Iowa Attorney General's office could at sometime in the future ask the Iowa District Court for Johnson County for an alternate dispersal.

Sidel helped to initiate those discussions several years ago, working closely with and coordinating discussions among the state Attorney General's office, the national YMCA, the Cedar Rapids YMCA and its attorneys, Camp Wapsie personnel and others interested in the Hope bequest. Those discussions culminated this winter, when the court agreed to bring the funds home from the national YMCA in Chicago to support Hope's goal of serving the youth of Johnson County. That will be done largely through the participation of Johnson County youth as campers and staff at YMCA Camp Wapsie, and through youth leadership programs and facilities at Camp Wapsie. Camp Wapsie, the Cedar Rapids Y's youth camp, is located near Coggon in northern Linn County.

"For fifty years this money wound up in various local Y and national Y accounts and could not be used for the purposes Ms. Hope intended," said Sidel. "It's gratifying to help fulfill her wishes more than 50 years after her death. Through the use of these funds to benefit the youth of our community, Camp Wapsie honors the memory of an Iowa resident who believed in the power of youth, and in their potential."

"This is another example of faculty volunteerism that benefits Iowa City and the entire state of Iowa, and shows how important the University of Iowa is to all Iowans," said N. William Hines, dean of the College of Law.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Service, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500.

CONTACT(S): Tom Snee, 319-384-0010,