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Tyler Perry gives the gift of Disney World to Phila. campers

Six-year-old Creative Steps camper Dajuan Tucker doesn't remember much about his last trip to Walt Disney World. He was only 4 years old and has vague memories of water slides and meeting Spider-Man.

Six-year-old Creative Steps camper Dajuan Tucker doesn't remember much about his last trip to Walt Disney World. He was only 4 years old and has vague memories of water slides and meeting Spider-Man.

Thanks to multi-millionaire media mogul Tyler Perry, he'll get another chance to review the costumed characters and rides at the Orlando, Fla., theme park later this month. Perry announced Sunday that he was sending the Creative Steps campers, each with a guardian, on an all-expenses-paid trip to Disney World.

"It feels good," Tucker said. "I'm excited" to go there with friends from the camp.

Perry, a popular African American producer, writer, and actor, announced the trip on Sunday in a written statement posted on his Web site and sent out to fans.

Creative Steps executive director Alethea Wright said she was "ecstatic" when Perry's staff contacted her with the offer last week. About 60 campers will fly out on July 31 and return Aug. 3.

"Some of these children have never been on a plane," she said. "This is going to be such a memorable experience."

When she told the campers on Friday that they were going to Disney World, Wright said, they started "screaming at the top of their lungs."

The trip is one of many offers made in recent weeks to campers at the Northeast Philadelphia day camp Creative Steps, who were disinvited from the Valley Club in Huntingdon Valley earlier this month.

The Valley Club has been sued by one parent and faces another suit from the camp amid allegations of racial discrimination after campers said they heard racially charged comments while swimming at the club on June 29. The swim club rescinded its invitation to the campers several days later and refunded their membership fees, claiming it would be unsafe for the more than 50 children to swim there. The club president said the issue was safety - too many children in the pool - and not racism.

Club officials have declined to comment further.

Perry - named last week as one of Forbes Magazine's top 10 highest-paid men in Hollywood - was not available for comment. He is filming on location in the Bahamas.

In the statement posted on his Web site, Perry explained his decision.

"I want them to know that for every act of evil that a few people will throw at you, there are millions more who will do something kind for them," he wrote.

He wrote that when he saw television news reports about the camp, "I said I have to do something for these children. I can't let them think that they are inferior because of the color of their skin."

Erik Tucker, 39, said his son Dajuan would be accompanied by his mother, Stacey Tucker. Eric Tucker, a fan of Perry's work, was impressed by the gesture.

"He doesn't live in Philadelphia," he said. "For someone to reach out like that, that's really touching."

Perry is a television and film producer, best known for feature films such as 2005's Diary of a Mad Black Woman and television comedies such as Tyler Perry's House of Payne. Perry, who also directs, acts, and writes for film and the stage, runs a production studio in Atlanta.

The New Orleans native began writing plays in the 1990s. After several unsuccessful years - he writes on his Web site that for a while, he slept in his car - he booked his first play, I Know I've Been Changed, in 1998. His first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman, which Perry wrote and starred in, debuted at No. 1 nationwide when it opened in 2005.

He opened Tyler Perry Studios, the first African American-owned studio in the United States, in October.

Perry is one of the most high-profile individuals to lend support to the camp, but Wright said she has received offers from individuals throughout the Philadelphia region and across the country.

The campers returned to Huntingdon Valley on July 13 at the invitation of Ed Riley, co-owner of the Delaware Valley Gymnastics Academy. They spent the afternoon trying out different gymnastics equipment, running through an obstacle course, and jumping on a moonbounce.

Riley said he offered the gym to the camp for free to show the children and the rest of the world that "Huntingdon Valley is not this bad place it's made out to be."

Wright said the outpouring of support had helped the children cope with hurt feelings during the last few weeks.

"People of all ethnic backgrounds and races have reached out to these children," Wright said. "I think it's positive that these children are seeing that."