|by Mark Aguirre|
| Beth Fitton and her partner, Mary Morgan, have been members of the Rehoboth Beach community for quite some time. Beth recently accepted a position as the CAMP Rehoboth Development Director. We are pleased to have her join the CAMP Rehoboth staff and look forward to working with her.
Mark: Tell us what brought you to your position at CAMP Rehoboth.
Beth: Actually, I had been calling CAMP Rehoboth for information and referrals for the past 10 years. First when I needed a place to stay, later when I needed a realtor, plumber, electrician, it was CAMP that came through for me over and over again. When we moved here full-time, I was looking for a way to get involved in the community and I was interested in giving back to CAMP for all their help. In early 2000, I saw the announcement that CAMP was forming an Advisory Board to look at the direction that CAMP Rehoboth should take. I was excited to join and be a part that dynamic group.
It didn't take long for us to realize that CAMP Rehoboth needed more money to do all that the Advisory Board had suggested. I asked if they would like me to draft a Development Plan that would provide a "how to" format for CAMP to begin raising funds. (Development has been my profession for the last 15 yearsfirst at Harford County Public Library and then at Sussex County Senior Services.)
Later, there was an opening on the CAMP Rehoboth Board of Directors and I was asked to join. I was honored to be asked. As time went on, CAMP was able to hire a Development Director and two years later, when Andrea Andrus decided to move, the time was right for me to join the staff.
Mark: Tell us about what you do.
Beth: My major responsibilities at CAMP Rehoboth revolve around the Founder's Circle Capital Campaign. CAMP is very fortunate to have such a giving community. That generosity has allowed us to purchase the properties at both 39 and 37 Baltimore Avenue. However, that is not the end of the story! There are mortgages to meet plus the renovation and expansion phase for 37 Baltimore Avenue. I have been concentrating on writing grant proposals to major foundations so far. In the future, I'll be contacting members of the community who are not yet members of the Founders' Circle. Hopefully, many of them will want to be a part of this wonderful project. In addition, I'll be helping with the many special events that help to fund CAMP Rehoboth. I love getting to meet so many great people as they stop by at the CAMP office.
Mark: Tell us about your relationship.
Beth: My partner of nearly nine years is Mary Morgan. We enjoy many of the same thingstraveling, the beach and entertaining a few close friends at home top the list. We share our home with our two dogs, Jackson, a four-year-old Lab Chow mix and Lillie, an all black German Shepherd who is 15 months old.
Mark: What first brought you to the Rehoboth Beach area?
Beth: I have been visiting this area for more than 30 years and always dreamed of living at the beach. Having my partner fall in love with Rehoboth Beach cinched it. We made a plan, sold houses, got jobs and...Voila! Living in this community is even better than we hoped for. All of our visitors talk about how friendly every one is, from merchants to folks on the street.
Mark: Where are you from originally?
Beth: I was born and raised in Fall River, Massachusetts. For a long time, Fall River's claim to fame was Lizzie Borden. (You remember, "Lizzie Borden took an axe and gave her mother 40 whacks..."). Now, Fall River can claim Emeril Lagasse and his great Portuguese heritage. For the past 33 years, I have lived in Harford County, Maryland.
Mark: Do you have a little known Rehoboth Beach pleasure?
Beth: I think my greatest pleasures are shared by many residents and visitors. I have enjoyed taking a boat from Dewey Beach through the Rehoboth Lewes Canal to Lewes. It is peaceful and you get a sneak peek at great backyards along the way. Also, nothing makes me happier than sitting on North Beach reading and watching a pod of dolphins go by. (My guilty pleasure is eating Ben and Jerry's Coffee Heath Bar Crunch ice cream right out of the container.)
Mark: If there were one thing about Rehoboth Beach you could preserve for ever what would that be?
Beth: I can think of lots of things but without the beach, we'd lose the tranquility that restores so many of us.
Mark: Has your volunteer work shown you a side of Rehoboth Beach you may not have experienced otherwise?
Beth: Helping at the Rehoboth Beach Library book sales has been an education. From young families to senior citizens to collectors, they all share a love of books. We involve the whole family when they are visiting and hearing my partner's father say, "Thank you, young lady" to the drag queen paying for the books was a hoot. When a senior asked if the book sale was sponsored by the Friends of the Library group, I reported that CAMP Rehoboth was doing it. She asked what CAMP Rehoboth is and I told her it is the gay and lesbian community center. Her response was simple surprisenot a bit of negativity. She said she had been coming to Rehoboth for years and she didn't know there was one here.
Mark: What do you think is the most important way to improve the lives of lesbians and gays in our community?
Beth: Get involved in the communityboth the gay community and the greater community. If we don't all pay our dues by serving on committees, helping with clean up parties and supporting events, etc. our community will not be strong. We need to give other members of the community an opportunity to know us as people and working side by side is a great way for that to happen. CAMP Rehoboth has set the standard for community cooperation. We just need to follow their lead.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 15, No.4 May 6, 2005