AUSTIN (KXAN) — Runners will lace up on May 1 for the first in-person 2022 H-E-B Austin Sunshine Run since 2019.

The run benefits the nonprofit Austin Sunshine Camps. The more money raised, the more kids can go to camp for free. Those at the nonprofit said its goal is to have around 3,000 runners. That’ll send 500 kids to camp this summer. So far, they only have about 1,100 signed up.

Zoey Gordon hangs from the monkey bars. (KXAN Photo/Candy Rodriguez)

One of the campers who will benefit from the program is Zoey Gordon. She may be 10 years old, but Gordon knows what she wants.”I really want to be a teacher,” she said.

But first, her goal is to become an Austin Sunshine Camps counselor. It’s the same step, former camper and now counselor Eden Seeley is taking for the first time this year.

“I love that I can give back to a camp that really helped me when I was younger,” said Seeley. “It really just makes me feel like everything comes full circle.”

Gordon said she wants to help other kids like her experience the healing power of camp.

“I think it’s important because they can get the chance to observe nature and make new friends and just be themselves at camp because camp is a really free place,” Gordon said. “And if they don’t feel that way, then the counselors and all the staff and stuff, make them help really make them feel that way.”

The nonprofit offers kids who are on free or reduced-price meals at school an opportunity to attend camp for free. And while Gordon said she wants to help other kiddos experience what she has for now, she is focused on having fun.

“I like making new friends. And I like, like seeing our likes and differences,” she said. “It’s really boosted my confidence to try new things. I like to do more stuff outside, and I like to be about people. Now, people are kind of my thing now.”

If you would like to sign up for the race or if you’re interested in sending your child to the camp you can do so online. Races include a 10K, 5K, 5K – Tomlinson’s Fastest Dog in Austin, 5K – Unlimited, Kids K and a Virtual 10K.