Saturday, November 29, 2014

Progress of the Grounds and the Barn

This fall led to a lot of progress on the Camp Daniel grounds. Windows and doors where installed in the barn, as well as, the Georgia puppet stage was built. Trim, lights, and a projection screen were also put up.

Outside, the never-ending landscaping projects continued. Green Bay Nursery once again generously donated trees and shrubs for our grounds. This recent donation included over 50 trees and shrubs. Tony and the guys were still planting and transplanting trees after our first snowstorm!

Green Bay Nursery has been a valued donor to Camp Daniel for almost 20 years, since the time the grounds were purchased. Very early on, most of the trees on the grounds needed to be cut down due to a tree disease. Therefore, the gifts from GBN have been extra appreciated. GBN has donated over 500 trees 12-15 feet tall and shrubs over the years. They have also donated many other landscaping items including paving bricks, retaining wall blocks, wheel barrels, and a dump truck, to name a few.

Camp Daniel highly values the relationship with Green Bay Nursery and is highly grateful to the Flagstad family for their generosity. In 2010, they were awarded Camp Daniel’s Ambassador’s Award, the highest award given by Camp Daniel.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Visions of Popcorn Popping in Their Heads

Making popcorn is almost a daily event in the Piantine household. Tony loves popcorn and, for most of his life, has dreamed about having a popcorn business.  Over the years, as the dream remained a dream, it kind of became a joke between friends and family. It was just a fun idea and one of Tony’s many dreams.

Last Christmas, the Piantines thought it would make great Christmas gifts to make and package their own popcorn. They made their own labels and had fun putting together the gifts boxes.  A handful of select friends and family received the Piantine popcorn, slightly satisfying the popcorn dream.

A couple weeks later, the dream began to pop some more. Tony received a phone call from Diane, mother of one of our campers, Drew. She shared that she owned a popcorn business in Green Bay called Heart@Work.  She developed the business as a means to give her son who has Down Syndrome, and other adults with disabilities, purposeful employment.  They would make, package and label several varieties of popcorn, vending to corporate buyers as well as providing popcorn buffets for weddings and banquets.

Much to Tony’s surprise, the owner asked if Camp Daniel would like to partner with business! Wow! Could this be a dream come true?

Tony, Karol, & Trish (our kitchen manager) spent a day making popcorn with Heart@Work, learning all about the business first hand. They excitedly agreed to partner with the business.   The future plan is to produce the popcorn here at camp after our commercial kitchen is built.  We would continue the partnership and the mission of Heart@Work by providing purposeful employment for people with disabilities, as well as providing a means for Camp Daniel to support itself.  This gives us another reason to complete the Camp Daniel grounds and get our kitchen up and running!

Currently, Trish goes weekly to Green Bay, along with other Camp Daniel staff and campers to help with this year’s orders and learn the business. This past Thursday Channel 5 of Green Bay aired a segment on the business! Check out the video clip below!

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Give the gift of popcorn!

Uniquely Wisconsin: Heart @ Work - Green Bay Fox Cities News Weather Sports

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Women's Retreat

This past weekend, Camp Daniel held its first women’s retreat! The theme was Beautiful Things, with speaker Becky Bazett-Jones and worship leaders Jill Kocian and Molly McMurry.  Camp Daniel’s intern, Betty Miller, fantastically put on this retreat, with the help of other Camp Daniel staff. We had 10 campers and 5 counselors attend. Great size for our first retreat and for closer intimacy. It was an exciting time for our staff as we got to see the barn utilized for a camp function for the first time!
Activities included crafts, games, spa, tea luncheon, fashion show, chapel times, movie night, and bon fire. During the spa, ladies received hand massages, manicures, facials, and a chance to pick out a dress and hat to wear for the lovely tea luncheon. The guys of Camp Daniel served the ladies soup, sandwiches, tea & dessert. Following the lunch, the ladies had a chance to show off their beauty by dancing down a runway to fun music.

The chapel sessions where filled with messages about how God has made us beautiful. This message was vitally important to the ladies who attended since so much of the world tells us we need to look a certain way in order to be beautiful. The majority of gals with disabilities have an extra hard time measuring up to those standards. Being affirmed of and encouraged to find our beauty, inside and out, is a message all women need to hear and even more important within the disability community.  Thank you Becky for your words of truth and encouragement!

Friday, November 14, 2014

House Swap

The big move happened at the beginning of October.  Marceaux, Jen & MJ packed their things and moved from the Brunot House back onto the Camp Daniel grounds into the Chicagami House, where Molly & Trish lived. At the same time, Molly, Trish, and our new intern, Betty, moved into the Brunot House.  Jake also moved from the Brunot House onto the Camp Daniel grounds into the Hartley House, with the rest of the guys. He took Justin’s room as he moved into an apartment in Green Bay.

Though the move was a lot of work and required change, it has been good for everyone.  Having the Burys move back to camp has allowed Marceaux to be closer for maintenance of things needing repair. The move allowed Jen to be connected more and be apart of things even when MJ is home napping. MJ loves playing on the carpet ball tables, the swing set, and going to the garage with daddy.

Having the girls move to the Brunot House has allowed space for Betty to move in. It has also opened up space for potentially two female residents.

The moved required a bit of sacrifice and willingness for change.  It is easy to get comfortable, sentimental, and possessive when it comes to living spaces and stuff. Moving brings a lot of those emotions to the forefront, especially the more people that are involved. The Burys had to downsize, the girls had to move off the grounds, and things had to change from what got comfortable.

Things like this remind us what we are here for and that we truly are missionaries, living in community. One may wonder what real sacrifices we have to make living here in the United States. We don’t have to give up plumbing, electricity or fast food. However, we regularly need to put our personal desires and comforts aside for the good of the group and the moving forward of the vision set before us. Had one person not been willing to move, change would have been halted.  There would not have been room for Betty. There would not be room to add female residents and expand our group home options.  The Burys would not have gained the connection they need during this time of their lives while raising a child.

We are grateful that we live in a community that is willing to sacrifice and except change in order to further the vision God has given us and care for each other's needs.