There are a lot of thoughts and emotions we’re going through as we take a moment to breathe after completing our 15th Super Summer here at camp. The door on the first 15 years of Camp Acorn is coming to a close and a new chapter is about to begin. It’s been a beautiful experience over the years, watching camp take on a life of its own, witnessing our campers and volunteers growing up together, and defining the vision for what Camp Acorn will become. We’re incredibly appreciative of the countless individuals and organizations that have shared this dream and helped us come this far. There’s joy at seeing the passion and enthusiasm that our campers have for Camp Acorn as well as our own excitement for what the future holds.
And to each and every person or organization who has had our back, whether you were on staff, volunteered, donated, recommended, promoted, or supported camp in any way, you’ve helped make a difference, you’ve helped us reach our current accomplishments and set the stage for what we can achieve in the future. Even if it seems like something small, just a few hours of your time or a few dollars out of your wallet, know that it’s one of many small steps that brings us closer to our big dream of a full-time, year round program and home for our campers.
Even though we’re a “small” organization by some standards, we feel like we’re doing “big things.” We currently offer around 525 hours of programming for campers each year. Over the past 15 years at least 4000 individual volunteers have walked through our doors to help provide a great experience for our campers. We’ve had just over 100 staff members during that time and what’s truly impressive is that almost half of them are still with us. They come to help out on their lunch breaks, weekends, or even use vacation days from their regular jobs, just so they can have the chance to break out that coveted staff t-shirt and be with our campers, even if only for a little while.
Not many organizations can claim that kind of loyalty from it’s members but that’s exactly why we always say that camp is more than an organization or a program. It’s a family, a community and while our primary focus is on serving the needs of the most vulnerable members of our community, the campers, we’ve come to see that everyone involved in camp is getting something out of it. The same people coming to help are often facing their own vulnerabilities, and camp is something that gives them strength. Facing the day regardless of the challenges that come our way, is one of the biggest lessons our campers can teach everyone who comes through our doors.
We believe our campers can have many roles to play in life and are defined by much more than just their disability. They can be a teacher, a friend, and even a caregiver, because they care about the people around them and have plenty of love to give. At Camp Acorn our campers are people first, not a number, consumer, or a client, but a person. We hope that’s a message that everyone hears loud and clear.
Camp Acorn is the place where everyone is included, regardless of their circumstances in life, their differences, or their struggles. It’s about the belief that all people truly have value, that we all have both needs to be fulfilled and gifts to bestow on those around us. It’s that interdependence that helps us all fulfill our potential and makes us stronger as a whole. That’s Camp Acorn. That’s 15 years growing strong.
So thank you for taking this journey with us and we look forward to what the future has in store!
Much love and respect,
~ Camp Acorn