|by Beth Fitton|
|Building Community on the Delaware Shore
I just had the best snorkeling day of my life AND on my 62nd birthday! Pretty cool, huh? (Saying it was the best is no small claim as we have snorkeled in the Caribbean and in French Polynesia.)
Let me start at the beginningMary and I went to the Florida Keys for vacation. We stayed outside of Key West on Cudjoe Key and spent several days on the beach at Bahia Honda State Park. (By the way, the beach offers turquoise waters and beautiful white sand that does not have to be brought in from the Bahamas, as is true in Key West.) The Park provides a snorkeling trip, about 45 minutes off shore, to Looe Key Reef. When Mary asked what I wanted to do for my birthday, Looe Key was at the top of my list. On the way out we learned that the reef is the third largest in the world and that we could expect to see abundant sea life. When we arrived and slipped off the boat into the water, it was immediately obvious that the captain had not exaggerated. You could not swim a stroke in any direction without seeing multiple fishes. There were schools of amber jacks, grouper, and parrotfish in extraordinary shades of neon green, yellow and blue. Then there was brain and pipe coral plus fan coral in a majestic shade of blue. About the time that we were thoroughly mesmerized, a 5 foot long black-tipped shark swam about 8 feet under us followed soon after by a 5 foot barracuda. I was in awe! Mary was on her way back to the boat!
During one of the days that we spent in Key West, we visited the gay and lesbian community center. The Community Center is located in a small building with a great location on Truman Avenue just off of Duval Street. While there, I met their executive director, Michael Citro. He has spent time in Rehoboth and was very complimentary of CAMP Rehoboth's work and our success in growing with the community's needs. He remembered Sundance particularly fondly and spoke of our fundraising successes. Now I have to confess! My biggest reason for stopping in to visit was to get ideas that CAMP Rehoboth might be able to use to increase our revenue or our programming. After talking to Michael and looking around the Key West Center, I would say that we have many things in commonright down to the big jar of condoms.
What is seemingly quite different is our population size. Key West has a population of 25,000 people while Rehoboth Beach's population is 1,500. Wait! I know; I know! The Rehoboth Beach gay and lesbian community is much larger than the borders of the incorporated city. Still, I suspect that Key West has a greater number of gay and lesbian residents than Rehoboth Beach by quite a few. It certainly accounts for why Michael Citro was so impressed with CAMP Rehoboth's accomplishments.
Remember Margaret Mead's oft quoted remark? "Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it's the only thing that ever has." I maintain that the gay and lesbian community in Rehoboth is uniquely served by "thoughtful, committed citizens" who recognize that the only way to have what you want in your community is to commit your time, talent and financial resources to the task. Pages 8 and 9 offer ways that you can join your fellow citizens in meeting the needs of our community.Most visitors to the Keys enjoy the rest and relaxation. My visit netted me rest, relaxation and a renewed commitment to help grow CAMP Rehoboth so that it continues to meet the needs of our community. Please help!
Beth Fitton is Development Director of CAMP Rehoboth. She may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 302-227-5620.
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 05 May 16, 2008