Pub­lic in­vited to visit Camp Fair­lee

Record Observer - - Community - By DOUG BISHOP dbishop@kibay­times.com

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.

PHOTO BY DOUG BISHOP

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.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

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.

PHO­TOS BY DOUG BISHOP

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.

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