Every time I meet a group at camp or go to speak to various groups in the area, the first thing I start my talk with is the history of Camp Allen. If you have heard it before you know the drill, Edward Allen, Lions, Kiwanians, 1949 fire, and mission change. The next time I speak to a group about Camp Allen it is going to be different. I am very biased, but you are not going to change my opinion. The newest change to my speech will be that Mary Constance former executive director is the most important person in Camp Allen’s history. When Mary took over Camp Allen in 2004, there were 200 campers for a seven week summer. The buildings were in rough shape and camp was not completely accessible. Through years of hard work and far more than 40 hours a week Mary was able to build Camp Allen into a premier camp for people with disabilities. Since 2004 here is a small portion of Mary has accomplished.
- Camp now runs a 12 week summer with over 700 campers coming each year.
- A safe and accessible camp
- Day Camp
- Countless jobs for people with disabilities
- Financial stability
- American Camp Association certification
- Successful fundraisers
The most important accomplishment cannot be listed in a bullet. And that is the relationships that Mary has formed with families over the years. Campers want to come to Camp Allen because of the relationships that are formed with the staff. Families wanted to send their campers to Camp Allen because they knew there was someone there that they could trust with what means most, a child, brother, sister, or friend. That is something I am proud to say that Mary has instilled in all of us working at Camp Allen today.
This Sunday is going to be very different. For the first time since in twelve summers Mary will not be at check in. But know that the people who run camp now, myself included were trained by the best out there in working with people with disabilities, Mary Constance. I am honored to continue the work Mary has done for Camp Allen. And if I need advice, which of course I will, she is my mother! Enjoy your retirement ma, you deserve it.
See you all Sunday for Session 3!
Far more importantly, proud son of Mary!