As summer plans fell apart for many this summer, Goodwill, the Pioneer Center, and the Ross County Park District came together to develop a new plan – Camp Dream.
Plans for the two-week social distancing camp began after Pioneer’s Services and Support Director Laura Martin reached out to Goodwill of South Central Ohio’s Missions Coordinator Cana Horner.
“The Pioneer Center wanted to find a way to bring summer enrichment back to children in the new normal we found ourselves in. Our community partnerships were more important than ever, and we knew this would be somewhat of a challenge, but a challenge Goodwill accepted with enthusiasm and determination,” Martin said.
Horner said her staff quickly sprang into action along with Pioneer to develop a robust itinerary for campers which included fun, exercise, and education. The Ross County Park District also jumped on board to help, providing not only the location at Buzzard’s Roost Nature Preserve, but providing staff to help with nature-based activities.
“Every detail was carefully thought out from establishing small enrollment numbers, the outdoor location, temperature checks and more. Camp Dream offered a wide range of activities built specifically with safety in mind and Goodwill went above and beyond to provide each camper with a sense of leadership, the joys of navigating nature, and in making new friends,” Martin said.
The camp, which began on July 27 and runs through Aug. 7, had 10 teen campers sign up and was supervised daily by staff from Goodwill’s Activities and Training Centers. Goodwill’s workforce development team also lent a hand and Horner taught a class on hygiene where campers made a dog with a bar of soap and a washcloth.
“I really enjoyed having the opportunity to interact with the kids and teach them something while also having fun,” Horner said. “If we get enough interest next year, I’m hopeful we may be able to do the camp again.”
Other presenters throughout camp included: Judi Mannion, Ross County Litter Control and Recycling director; Kathy Smith, Ross County Board of DD MUI coordinator; Kelly Stauffer, owner of Chillicothe Fine Arts; Allison Shoemaker, Ross County Board of DD disabilities advocate; Dana Letts, Chillicothe City Schools STEM coordinator; Myranda Vance and Allen Hawk, Ross County Park District; Brittany Freeman, ‘Leave No Trace’ educator; Andrea Gayheart, nail technician at The Guest House Spa in Washington C.H.; Capt. Ron Meyers, Chillicothe Police Department; Tricia Wallace, Ross County Board of DD recreation director; Ross County Sheriff and K9 units; Heather Clark, Goodwill board member; and Roger Bellar. Subway on North Bridge Street also donated delicious cookies for the campers!
Goodwill of South Central Ohio is a nonprofit organization focused on improving the quality of life and job opportunities for those with disabilities and disadvantages across our eight-county region. Donations and purchases made at our stores help to support these services in Pickaway, Ross, Hocking, Fayette, Pike, Athens, Vinton, and Jackson counties.
Media contact: Jona Ison, firstname.lastname@example.org, 740-702-4000 ext. 135