Egg ride to benefit Pine Tree Camp announces Ceremonial Leader

HERMON, Maine (WABI) - The Annual Snowmobile Ride-in and Egg Ride will roll out on February 1st.

The event benefits Pine Tree Camp's Campership Fund.

Every summer, more than 650 Maine children and adults with disabilities attend the camp in Rome and no one is turned away.

The Ceremonial Leader of this year's ride is a Pine Tree camper who's been going every summer for 16 years.

Amy Simpson, mom of Bradley Thibodeau says, "It's his week to be in a world that fits him instead of trying to fit into a world that doesn't."

Bradley has been attending Pine Tree Camp since he was 8-years-old.

Simpson says, "He tells me what he'd like to do for activities. He goes off with the counselors and does his thing. He loves the socialization that it brings. It's just a great week. It's such a happy week for the kids and the adults that go."

The 285-acre, fully accessible campus allows campers like Bradley to leave behind the confines of their disability and participate in tons of activities.

Simpson says, "I just love seeing him have a great time. Enjoying himself. Being outside. Boating, fishing, nature walks and the biggest part for me is the socialization that he gets. Laughing, joking, socializing with the other campers. The counselors are great at getting them all involved. For me to be able to see that is heartwarming."

In addition, Pine Tree Camp provides their families with much needed respite.

Simpson says, "Sometimes it can be tough. I'm not going to lie about that but you try to make the best of it and do the best you can and that's what we do. They make us feel welcome and included as well. It's important to get that respite."

Since 1945, the camp has welcome everyone.

Simpson says, "They never turn anybody away. Whether you can pay or you can't, the door is open and we really want to keep it that way."

That's exactly what the Snowmobile Ride-in and Egg Ride raises money for.

And new this year, folks can join in on the ride by pledging 50 dollars.

Simpson says, "There's a lot of buzz. People are really excited about that. I'm really excited about it to see how many sleds we get."

And Bradley will be leading the pack as this year's Ceremonial Leader.

Simpson says, "It's really heartwarming that people are willing to open up their wallets because there are a lot of great causes out there and people are just so willing to give to Pine Tree Camp because they realize how important it is to the lives of these kids and adults that enjoy this camp so much."