Welcome Tara Sheldon!
CAMP Rehoboth’s New Health & Wellness Manager
On February 27, Tara Sheldon joined the CAMP Rehoboth staff as the Health and Wellness Manager. Sheldon brings a wide variety of experience to the role. She’s studied psychology, women’s studies, and social work, earning a Master’s degree in Social Work at the University of Maryland’s School Of Social Work. Her commitment to fostering community includes stints at Whitman-Walker Health with Lesbian Services, at Compassionate Care Hospice, and most recently, in collaborations with local groups like PFLAG and ACLU of Delaware in efforts to advocate for LGBTQ+ youth.
CAMP Rehoboth invites the community to join in welcoming Tara to the team!
CR: What is your background with CAMP Rehoboth?
TS: I first joined CAMP Families shortly after we moved here in 2010. Ironically, we all had little ones within about six months of each other. It was so much more than playgroups; it was a sense of community and connection. We were able to share resources and more.
I joined the board in 2017. I was all-in on anything that had to do with advocating for our LGBTQ+ youth. I will miss it but am so very excited to serve CAMP Rehoboth in another way—one I truly believe will allow me the opportunity to do so much more than I could in a volunteer capacity.
CR: What excites you about the Health & Wellness Manager role?
TS: When I interviewed, I said it was my dream job when I moved here 13 years ago!
I admire the variety of CAMP Rehoboth’s programming to serve our community. At its core, I think CAMP is all about meeting people where they are. I think about Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. People at various levels of the hierarchy will need different resources to support their health and wellness.
In advocacy, it is about meeting people where they are, too—and helping them to see we are all connected. That’s what [CAMP Rehoboth founders] Murray [Archibald] and Steve [Elkins] did so well.
Our strategic planning that is in process will help guide CAMP Rehoboth forward. Ultimately, we can’t and shouldn’t try to do it all, but through collaborations with others—nurturing necessary allies, and building beneficial ones—we can help serve our community and beyond.
Our challenge is to figure out “how can we see and hear from those who need us most”?
Who is struggling the most? And, most importantly, WHY? Is it physiological, safety, love, or esteem?
Sometimes our traumas turn into tumultuous relationships or debilitating illnesses. Sometimes we are able to process and express them, and in turn release them through therapy, art, making connections within our community—whatever our self-care looks like. Behind our wellness is our willingness to accept the truths, be open to change, and ultimately, we grow.
CR: What do you see as some of the most pressing challenges facing the LGBTQ+ community?
TS: Equal access to employment, health care, and education. Environmental catastrophes. Gun violence.
Our community is both most susceptible to discrimination in the workplace, healthcare, and education, AND we have the added stigma attached to the consequences of the discrimination—which further impedes care.
[Our community is] most susceptible to HIV and endures the stigma when diagnosed with it.
[Our community is] most susceptible to mental health concerns and endures the stigma when seeking care for it.
All the bans on gender affirming care, and in consideration of what that leads to in terms of the increase in depression, anxiety, and the risk of suicide—our population has fewer resources.
Just as with every natural disaster, and HIV—COVID is teaching us a lot. Who has been hurt the most by COVID? The poor, the people of color, the single parents, the most marginalized among us—LGBTQ+ in particular—already burdened within Maslow’s hierarchy—COVID knocked them down further. Why? Because all of the above are more likely to have a lower income, fewer resources, and a minimal support system. “Same storm; different boats.”
We can’t be healthy, and well, unless our basic needs are met.
CR: There’s a throughline in your career and life in bringing community together. What compels you to do that?
TS: There’s something I remember my mother told me when I was very little. It was, “remember what Jimmy Carter said: ‘Life isn’t fair.’” And I hated that. I think it’s been my mission from a young age to make life more fair. But more so than that, I think that if we can’t see the humanity in each other, why are we here? ▼
Matty Brown is the Communications Manager at CAMP Rehoboth.