Public invited to visit Camp Fairlee
CENTREVILLE — On Saturday evening, June 25, Klaus and Anne Liebig of Centreville hosted “Campaign Fairlee” at their home, inviting guests to help support Easter Seals Camp Fairlee, which is located just outside Chestertown, funding events there for children and adults with disabilities. About 100 people attended the event.
Klaus, a local businessman, has been a board member for Camp Fairlee for the past 20 years. He and his daughter founded the Easter Seals Cruise for Kids, an annual boat trip for children with disabilities from Kent Island to St. Michaels and back, which ran for more than a decade.
He and Anne welcomed their guests with Klaus saying, “We’re honored you’d come to hear about Campaign Fairlee. I want you to know that Easter Seals doesn’t mean that, Easter, nor seals, have nothing to do with this.” Laughter followed.
“Camp Fairlee is one of the best kept secrets in all of Maryland,” he said.
He introduced Rosi Crosby, Easter Seals Delaware & Maryland’s Eastern Shore Director of Annual Giving, who spoke briefly about the history and mission of Camp Fairlee.
She said, “So many people have no idea what Easter Seals does. Put simply, they provide services for people, children and adults, who have disabilities. Whether they’re born with the disability or become disabled from an accident during their lives, Easter Seals provides services for all disabilities.”
Easter Seals is a United Way of Queen Anne’s County member agency.
“There are only two places in the entire state of Maryland that Easter Seals provides services, Salisbury, where 500 children a year are treated for occupational and speech therapy disabilities, and the other is Camp Fairlee, in Chestertown,” Crosby said.
“Easter Seals helps people from the time their disability begins until they die.”
In addition to the regular camps, Camp Fairlee offers three weeks of special autism services camps. One counselor and one child/ adult with autism are paired for a six-day camp experience. Autism has different degrees of affliction, and each child/adult is matched depending on their personal needs. Ages of participants with autism range from 6 to 84.
These services help families who normally have to provide 24-hour daily care of their disabled child or adult. An example was given where, Jamal, who is afflicted with cerebral palsy has been coming every year to Camp Fairlee since he was 6. He’s now 26.
He said, “I wish camp was everyday of my life.” At camp, he gets to do things he otherwise could not do.
His mother Bernadette said, “I was nervous the first time I dropped him off, but it became a tradition. I usually enjoy the time as a respite. I have somewhere to go while he is away.”
The same is true for many families who share such a burden of love with a family member.
Crosby said, “Costs for sponsoring one camper average between $1,200 to $1,800 per week, depending on the disability. Autistic individuals have the highest costs as they are paired oneon-one for the week with an individual counselor.”
She added, “From donations, administrative costs for Easter Seals are kept just under 10 percent, and people like to know that. They want to know that the vast majority of donations are going directly to services for those in need.”
Among the services offered by Easter Seals are help in training and finding employment for people with disabilities.
The 250-acre estate of Fairlee Manor was donated by the Dunlap family of
Delaware back in 1954 to the Easter Seals organization with the purpose of having a camp established for children and adults with disabilities. Over the years, summer camps transitioned to a year-round programs at Camp Fairlee.
As time went on, the original cabins deteriorated, and in 2014, those buildings were demolished and a major renovation took place with a $6.5 million restoration and expansion of stateof-the-art facilities.
Camp activities include swimming, creating arts and crafts, sailing through the air on a zipline, and horseback riding, to mention just a few.
The camp has modern airconditioned cabins that can accommodate up to 140 people, food service/commercial kitchen/dining seating up to 150, an activity center, gymnasium and spacious outdoor pavilion with fire place. All of these facilities are fully accessible to benefit people with disabilities.
Camp Fairlee is also open for rentals for weddings, church retreats, family reunions, conferences and more.
Accountant and former Camp Fairlee camp counselor, David Doane of Georgetown, Del., now a 30-year board member, said, “That amount which we had to take a loan on has been 3/4 paid off with generous donations from the public and people like you.”
Crosby and Doane invited everyone to come see the new facilities at Camp Fairlee on Wednesday, July 20, and Thursday, July 28. Reservations for the open houses are a must. The schedule for each day will be as follows: 10 to 10:30 a.m. “Learn More about Camp,” and 10:30 to 11;30 a.m. “Tour Camp and Meet Campers.”
Those planned days for the tours are free, however, donations are always accepted.
For more information about services provided by Easter Seals, go online at www.de.easterseals.com, www.de.easterseals.com/ fairlee or call Crosby at 302221-2066.
The Liebig family of Centreville hosted the “Campaign Fairlee” evening to the support funding for needed programs for children and adults with disabilities at Easter Seals Camp Fairlee, located just outside Chestertown in Kent County, Saturday evening, June 25. From left, Klaus and Anne Liebig, daughter Juli, son Erich, daughter Kristi, Camp Fairlee Board member David Doane, Easter Seals DE & MD Eastern Shore Director of Annual Giving Rosi Crosby and Fairlee Board member Paula Hill.
The well supervised outdoor swimming pool at Camp Fairlee. Camp counselors are on a one-to-one basis with swimmers with disabilities.
A camp counselor leads a group of disabled individuals in beating drums during a “make-yourown-music” session. Drumming is just one of many opportunities for people with disabilities to be creative and express themselves during a week at Camp Fairlee.
Camp Fairlee sous chef John Bove and his assistant Klaudia Bordakova, of Slovakia, in the renovated kitchen at the camp. Campers receive three meals a day.