|by Murray Archibald|
In recent weeks, I've had the pleasure of working with the many talented people who make up the new CAMP Rehoboth Development Advisory Board. Some in that group have been in this community a long time, others are relatively new. For all of us, the organizing of a new branch of the CAMP Rehoboth structure is an exciting task as we work to define the mission, purpose and goals of the group. As part of the process that goes along with its definition, I've found myself remembering our history and how we grew into the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center we know today. I
n a meeting last week with Development Advisory Board Chair Beth Cohen (whose Black and White Ball comments accompany this article) we talked about having a CAMP workshop (something I can't wait to do in the new building when it is ready). As we talked about it, I reminded Beth that all the major aspects of who we are as an organization grew out of workshop sessions. In the founding workshops, among other things, we created the mission statement and purpose that have served as our guide for all the 18 years we have been in operation.
Back in the early 90s we started a series of workshops called the Project Advisory Committee that lasted for several years. Out of those workshops were sowed the seeds for the Women's Project, which later became the Women's Conference and Weekend, and the first discussions about the need for a Community Center. All of those workshops were open to anyone who wanted to attend, and we had a diverse and enthusiastic crowd for all of them.
In the years that followed, the Community Center concept became our focus and another series of workshops got underway for the express purpose of creating an expanded vision, mission and goal for the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center. Out of those workshops came the vision to be "the heart of the community" and the house and heart logo that we frequently use. Out of those workshops also came this mission statement: "The CAMP Rehoboth Community Center is an inclusive space with and without walls, which creates and nurtures a focal point for connecting people, activities, and resourcesembracing diversity as an essential component. The Center is the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered community's contribution to creating a home for all."
That mission statement recognized that one of the most important things we have done is to create that focal pointa place that connects people by its very presence. The Community Center does that. So does this magazine, and since the very beginning of CAMP Rehoboth, both Steve and I have fought to preserve it as a vital service of CAMP Rehoboth. That's why, to this day, we work ourselves a little ragged to keep it going. Combined with the new Web site now under construction, our goal is that Letters from CAMP Rehoboth will become an even better service for our community.
I have all 18 years of CAMP Rehoboth bouncing around in my head. To me, it often seems that CAMP Rehoboth is all I talk about, but the truth is we have to keep talking about it over and over again because the world around us is always in motion and most of us are so bombarded by it that we are incapable of absorbing more than a very little bit of it at a time.
I'm aware that my biggest mistake is sometimes assuming that I have simply said enough. I take it for granted, quite often, that the long road to the Community Center is understood by all. It's notand even I who have lived it all, forget where we've been sometimes.That's why I was so excited that Beth Cohen stepped up to speak at this year's Black and White Ball. In her questions to me, she helped me remember the enormous number of people who have been at the heart of CAMP Rehoboth's growth over the years, and the way we came to be who we are today.
Thank you to all the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center Volunteers for the period of May 30-June 12.
Tony Burns Spencer Kingswell Charlie Lee Michael Muller Barb Ralph Chris Sampson
Rainbow Thumb Club
Matt Carey Ward Ellinger Rob Freeman Tony Ghigi Steve Hoult Anne Mundel Bud Palmer Ken Reilly Tom White
Murray Archibald, Founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 07 June 13, 2008