What made you decide to volunteer at Camp Hendon and how long have you been volunteering?
I first learned about Camp Hendon through a friend in 2015. I had no personal connection to Type 1 Diabetes, but when I had some free time on my hands in 2016, I volunteered to work on an annual report, brochure, and other marketing materials. In a strange turn of events, I also had a chance to visit camp for a day and help in the interview of a potential Executive Director. Little did I know…!
What is your role at camp?
I became Camp Hendon's Executive Director in 2017. On paper, my job is to oversee the daily operations of the organization, ensure we have the resources available to carry out our mission, managing staff, budgeting and strategic planning, and overseeing our programs. However, the title does little to express ALL the things I actually do! I strongly believe in never asking a volunteer or employee to do something that I wouldn’t also be willing to do myself. That means you can often find me picking up trash around camp or plunging toilets at 2 a.m., stuffing envelopes for mailings, training new camp counselors, talking to nervous parents, or leading songs before mealtime. Everything we do is a team effort.
Why do you come back year after year? What do you get from camp or how has it impacted your life?
I am passionate about Camp Hendon because of the tremendous impact is has on the kids and families we serve. Even though I had no connection to Type 1 Diabetes before taking on the role of Executive Director, I was very interested in the nonprofit sector and following a career path that had a positive impact on the world. This position really fell into my lap, and every day I realize how fortunate I am to do something that TRULY makes a difference. Even though so much of my time is spent at a desk, behind a computer, or on a phone, my figurative "batteries" are instantly recharged when I get to the next camp event and see the smiling kids and grateful parents. I became a mother a few years after joining the Camp Hendon team, and that has given me a greater appreciation for how heart-wrenching this experience must be for the parents and caregivers of our campers. If I can make their lives better in any way, and assure a parent that they can breathe a little bit easier knowing their child is in good hands, then I feel I have done my job well.
What is your favorite activity at camp and why?
Truth be told, I have done so very few activities at camp! I am often too busy working behind the scenes to break away and have fun. I will say, some of my favorite times at camp have been evenings in the Med Lodge when I get to talk, laugh, and share stories with the volunteers (they are the real heroes of this operation!). I need to make a new commitment to participate in one activity each summer – maybe this year I’ll finally take a dip in the pool 😊
What are some things you have learned or taken away from camp?
So many things! Here are a few of the most important things I have learned:
What do you do in your real life when you’re not giving your time to Camp Hendon?
I have been with my husband Adam for 10 years (3 married) and we have a 2-year-old daughter named Rosalie. I am lucky enough to have Adam at camp as a volunteer counselor, too! We are looking forward to introducing Rosalie to camp when the time is right. Adam and I have two dachshunds, Peanut and Lucy. I love to garden, and am slowly working on replacing all the grass in my yard with pollinator gardens and/or herbs and veggies. Adam is a musician, so we spend a lot of time (when COVID allows) out listening to music and going to shows. We love to camp and spend time outside, and you can often find us at our 100-acre farm in Henry County. Needless to say, we also spend quite a lot of time doing all the things our 2-year-old demands 😉
Do you have any skills or talents that many may not know about you?
Lori has been pestering me to participate in the Camp Hendon talent show with her for five years and she has yet to succeed! I can’t claim to have any special skills or talents, except maybe planning trips and vacations... At last count I have been to 43 states and 32 countries.