The People of CAMP
Celebrating our Members and Volunteers
During the month of April, two friends passed away.
Joe McMahon was a longtime friend, and our relationship dates back to the late ‘70s. Joe was always a supporter of the work we do here at CAMP Rehoboth and a valued member. He was a consistent supporter of Sundance. During our Washington years, my husband Steve worked with Joe for a period after his time in the Carter White House, and the two of us lived for several years in a beautiful house he owned on Q Street in Georgetown, DC.
Our most memorable history with Joe, however, was the simple fact that he was the man responsible for introducing the two of us to Rehoboth Beach. Joe organized our very first summer beach house here, and launched us on a trajectory that—even after we moved from Washington to New York—eventually made Rehoboth Beach a full-time home for us.
I met Robert Sills for the first time when he showed up on the load-in day for one of our big events at the Rehoboth Convention Center—I think it was Sundance—and announced he was there to volunteer. “Call me Bobby,” he said to me on that first day. Bobby quickly proved to be an exceptional volunteer, and one that I knew could be assigned a job and left on his own to finish it. We could always depend on Bobby to arrive every day we were on site at an event location ready for a full day of hard work. He will be missed at this year’s Sundance and Block Party. He was quirky in a good way and faithful in his service to CAMP Rehoboth and especially to me—he always anticipated my next move, and worried that I was pushing myself too hard.
I would be greatly surprised if Joe and Bobby ever met. Their circles of existence didn’t overlap as far as I could tell—and that is true for the way many people interact with CAMP Rehoboth.
Take our membership list for example—the people who support CAMP Rehoboth, and account for almost a quarter of our annual budget. If we asked each person on the list what it was that compelled them to support our organization, there would be a multitude of answers—and a multitude of ways that each one interacts with us and with CAMP Rehoboth.
Some of them come to us through one of our events, like Sundance, Women’s FEST, or the Block Party; some participate in our art shows, or sing in the CAMP Rehoboth Chorus; others take advantage of our many support groups, or HIV and STI testing and counseling, or flu shots and CAMP health days. The ways and the depth of participation are as varied as we all are as individuals. Some advertise in Letters or simply read this magazine or use our website. Some find us on Facebook. Some travel with us on the trips we organize, from exotic cruises to bus trips in New York, Philly, and DC. Our hundreds of volunteers find deep satisfaction with giving of their time, energy, and talent to support our work and the people of our community in the office, in leadership roles on Board and committees, in the CAMP Rehoboth Outreach Program (CROP), at Unfinished Business Thrift Shop, or at one of our concerts or fundraising events.
Life in CAMP Rehoboth is multidimensional, and those of us who spend our days close to its heart regularly witness the diverse ways the people of CAMP connect with us and with the organization. It is not unusual for us to work with people who are passionate about one area of service that CAMP Rehoboth provides, and yet have no idea about other parts of the organization. Like our late friends Joe and Bobby, they engage with us in vastly different ways.
On April 29, we celebrated our CAMP Rehoboth volunteers at the annual Volunteer Appreciation Party. Talk about passion! The people at that event are the ones who work tirelessly behind the scenes to make everything we do happen. Bobby was a perfect example of that kind of dedication, and he did it by finding what it was he loved to do and doing it with all his heart.
In recognition of the launch of our 2017 Membership Drive, the cover of this magazine features a few of the people who make up that long list of CAMP Rehoboth members I mentioned earlier, and it contains the unfinished statement, “I joined CAMP Rehoboth because…”. In this and following issues of Letters, we will learn the reasons why they and others joined our organization.
CAMP Rehoboth was founded 27 years ago, and the vision and mission we created at that time continues to provide the umbrella for all that we do. Yes, CAMP Rehoboth has a wide variety of programs and activities, and yes, our members access those services in widely diverse ways, and yet, when assembled under that CAMP umbrella they make sense, and further our mission of creating positive change and building a safe and welcoming community for all.
Within the diversity of people, programs, and services that make up CAMP Rehoboth, there is goodness at work. I see it in the people who come to us, I see it in our members, and I see it in our volunteers.
At the risk of speaking too broadly, I feel comfortable in saying that even in our diversity: “the people of CAMP are generous and openhearted, the people of CAMP are kind and caring, and the people of CAMP genuinely want to make the world a better place.
Several years before he died, my father visited us in Rehoboth, and after a day of exploring downtown, he commented on the people he had met: “Everyone is so open,” he said.
I’ve always found that to be true.
Murray Archibald, CAMP Co-founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach. Email Murray.. Photo: Volunteer Party: Deb Woods and Leslie Sinclair (chair).