DEDHAM, Maine (WABI) - A little camp in Dedham has been providing a big experience for campers for decades now thanks to the generosity of the community.
Donations year after year keep Camp Capella going and growing.
This year is no different
"We're a small summer camp and without the help that we get we couldn't do the things that we do," says Harvey Chesley, facilities and development director.
A small summer camp with a big purpose. Camp Capella has been providing children and adults with disabilities a place to get away from it all for decades now.
"It's amazing. It really is. Just the smiles on their faces and the fact that they all want to come back year after year," says Jeffrey MacDonald, a member of the board of directors.
"Last year, we had 171 campers that came to camp and we were able to offer tuition-assistance so that families didn't have to worry about where the cost of camp was coming from," says Chesley.
"The families get a little bit of a respite and the kids just absolutely adore camp. One of the biggest things they love to do is honestly just go for boat rides and go fishing, just to get that same experience that many of us in Maine have enjoyed," says MacDonald.
Keeping camp free is thanks to fundraising efforts of the staff and board of directors and continued support from the community.
That generosity continues and thanks to the Sunshine Lady Foundation they're getting money to build a new 12-bed bunkhouse, a pavilion for picnics and more and miles of nature trails including a wheelchair accessible trail.
"We've had to turn away overnight campers because we didn't have the facilities to sleep, you know have them sleep there," says MacDonald.
The foundation has awarded the camp with a $200,000 grant and they will also award the program another $100,000 in matching funds donated by the community. They'll match money, and the cash value of any services, products and materials donated through January.
"This is a lot of money and the needs that are being met are well evaluated and very well provided for. And to be able to step back and look at camp and to look at the people that we serve is something that is absolutely essential to this process," says Mark Tuck, a member of the board of directors.
You can find out how to donate by calling 843-5104 or by clicking on campcapella.org.