Volunteer Spotlight—Kim Nelson
Kim Nelson grew up in Oregon and worked for the federal government after college. Before moving to the East Coast, Kim lived in Hawaii as well as Los Angeles. Prior to retirement, she was assigned to Fort Meade and worked at the Pentagon. She first visited Rehoboth in 1997. Kim loved Rehoboth’s friendly environment, restaurants, and the more relaxed feeling than that of Ocean City, which wasn’t her cup of tea.
During her first visit to Rehoboth, she also discovered CAMP Rehoboth’s Letters. She said that she became excited because there were many events happening here for the LGBTQ community, as well as a community center. Kim was a Founders Circle member for the building of the CAMP Rehoboth community center room now known as the Elkins-Archibald Atrium.
Kim and her wife, Lori Simmons, bought a condominium in Rehoboth and began coming down several weekends during the year. Before they knew it, they were spending every weekend in Rehoboth and realized that this was where they wanted to retire. Kim loves her wife, dogs, and cats. She also loves walking the Breakwater Trail and the boardwalk, as well as attending the Rehoboth Independent Film Festival. (Kim and Lori are long-time Rehoboth Film Society members.)
What is your favorite CAMP Rehoboth event?
I have always enjoyed going to Women’s FEST. I especially loved the comedians, entertainers, and the different seminars you could attend. My favorite memory of Women’s FEST was when Lori and I had a bunch of girlfriends down and we had an amazing weekend. Unfortunately, Women’s FEST generally coincides with the Dinah Shore weekend in Palm Springs, and we have to choose.
What volunteering have you done at CAMP Rehoboth?
I began volunteering with CAMP Rehoboth in February 2021. Due to COVID-19, it was difficult to volunteer. Now that I have had my first COVID vaccine and with my second one fast approaching, I am able to volunteer more. Recently, I have been volunteering as a CAMPcierge, as well as helping CROP deliver dinner to families being housed through the organization, A Sheltering Heart. I love being part of this community.
Name a childhood mentor or someone who influenced you.
My high school German teacher was someone who really influenced me. I remember her as being cute, dynamic, inspiring, and only 10 years older than myself. She later became a minister and officiated Lori’s and my wedding. Because of my high school German teacher, I acquired a love of languages and, in college, double-majored in German and international relations.
During the pandemic, what have you learned most about yourself?
Lori and I learned that we really love to be in each other’s company, and we also learned how to give space to each other. I also rediscovered that I love to read and now spend time catching up on all the books that I have missed.
After the pandemic, what is one of the first things you want to do?
I cannot wait to entertain again. I love entertaining and having friends over. I also cannot wait to go out to dinner inside a restaurant. I describe myself as very outgoing and friendly, so I cannot wait to get back out there.
Since you began coming to Rehoboth, name the biggest change you’ve seen?
I think the biggest change that I have seen is the turnover of founding and long-term staff at CAMP Rehoboth. I am hopeful that even through the pandemic and turnover, CAMP Rehoboth will continue to persevere. I love that CAMP Rehoboth has preserved its mission of being dedicated to creating a positive environment inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities.
What is your fondest memory of your time in Rehoboth?
One of my fondest annual memories is celebrating our anniversary over a champagne brunch at the Blue Moon (the restaurant that catered our wedding at Nassau Valley Vineyards).
Karen Laitman is a member of CAMP Rehoboth’s Volunteer Development Committee.