|by Murray Archibald|
|Hope for the Holidays
Watching the cheering crowds in Grant Park on election night, my heart was filled with hope for the future. All night and well into the next day, I easily choked up at the overwhelming feeling that we were witnessing real change in motion. The entire history of America and what it means to be an American was reflected in the joyful tears and sparkling eyes of that wildly diverse multitude of people lucky enough to be in Chicago on the night that Barack Obama became the 44th president-elect of the United States. My hope is the hope of millionsthat he will create unity and inspire a new era of prosperity and peace in the world.
Even the news about the passage of Prop 8 in California couldn't dampen my hopes for the future. As MSNBC's Chris Mathews said recently, "liberal thinking always wins in the end." The great history of racial civil rights spans centuries and countless generations and it's culmination in Barack Obama's election inspires my hope that equal rights of all kinds, despite some current setbacks, will prevailif not now, then in the not-so-distant future. As an aside: for a really impassioned plea on gay marriage, go to YouTubeKeith Olbermann Speaks Out On Prop 8.
Hope is also the theme for the local World AIDS Day activities on December 1. Because World AIDS Day coincides with the Rehoboth Christmas parade this year, the usual Candlelight Walk on Rehoboth Avenue will be included as a part of the parade. Walkers will carry a banner that reads: "Today is World AIDS Day. In this season of hope please take time to remember those whose lives are touched by AIDS." It's not meant to be an in-your-face, defiant statement, but rather a reverent one, a quiet reminder that all around the world, on this day, we unite in our hope for a cure, and for a lessening of the devastating pain and suffering caused by HIV and AIDS.
Here at CAMP Rehoboth, like the rest of the country, concern over the economy is causing us stress and anxiety. Yet, at the same time, we're watching our new Community Center near completion. What we have hoped and dreamed about for so many years is really happening, right now. Even as I write these words, the final panels are being added to the beautiful rainbow glass wall that honors the many Founders' Circle members who made the construction of the new wing possible. Looking at this awesome listing of names, I'm filled with hope for the future of CAMP Rehoboth and for our town.
Back when we started CAMP Rehoboth, the hope was that we could create a better community by making it a safe, inclusive, and welcoming place for all. Every step along the road that has led to the development and completion of the Community Center has required vision, commitment, passion, and a constant effort to maintain a hopeful and positive outlook. Certainly there have been days when we despaired of ever moving aheadand days when exhaustion and frustration tried to put a stranglehold on our ability to breathe at all. And yet, we never gave upand this community never gave upand now we stand in the doorway of a new era for CAMP Rehoboth.
With the increased size and scope of the property and buildings, come added responsibility and a greater need for more people to be involved in the work of maintaining and caring for the Center and developing its programs and activities. Over the next few months, a new committee structure will greatly expand the number of individuals taking on leadership roles within the CAMP Rehoboth organization. A project the scope of the Center requires a diversity of talents, viewpoints, and perspectives, and for that reason, almost 20 community members will be nominated to fill two year terms on a variety of committeessome long-standing, some newly created.
Along with this infusion of new talent, I'm hopeful and excited about the development and launch of our annual membership drive for 2009. Though the details of it are still in final committee stages, the new structure will encourage participation at all levels as well as provide some great new benefits to members.
My greatest hope for CAMP Rehoboth in the coming year is that we are able to engage the people of this community in even more ways than ever before. I believe that the new space will make us all proud of what we've been able to accomplish by working together, and that it will attract people to it. We have something very special here in Rehoboth Beach, and the new Community Center is a visible sign of what makes this place a unique and wonderful place to live.
Hope is the spark that keeps the flame of our souls alive through the darkest, the loneliest, and the most painful times of our liveswhatever and whenever they may be. Hope takes many forms and comes from many sources. It tempers our emotions and raises our spirits. Though love may be the greatest of human qualities, hope is its sister. To live without hope is to live in despair and depression. From its founding almost 20 years ago, CAMP Rehoboth has sought to inspire hope in ourselves, our community, and our world.
The holiday season is both a joyful and a painful time. For some it is a time of family and parties; for others it is deeply lonelya reminder of the people and times who are no longer with us. My hopes for this holiday season are that we have patience with one another; that we respect and honor our differences of opinions; that we continue to strive for equality at every level of our society; and most of all, that we do all we can to create hope and love in the world around us. Happy Holidays to all!
Murray Archibald, Founder and President of the Board of Directors of CAMP Rehoboth, is an artist in Rehoboth Beach.
Photos: The main room of the new wing of the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center showing the almost completed Founders' Circle wall, visible from inside the building as well as the outside courtyard. The logo/theme for the 2008 Rehoboth Beach World AIDS Day activities.
Thank you to all the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center Volunteers for the period of October 9- November 20.Carl Armideo Tony Burns Bob Chambers Harvey Chasser Becky Craft Steven Fendero Spencer Kingswell Charlie Lee Jon McDonough Jeff Michael Bob Nagy Glen Pruitt Barb Ralph Mark Robinson Chris Sampson
*Rainbow Thumb Club
Matt Carey Ward Ellinger Rob Freeman Tony Ghigi Steve Hoult Anne Mundel Bud Palmer Ken Reilly Tom White
LETTERS From CAMP Rehoboth, Vol. 18, No. 15 November 21, 2008