Nancy met her partner Vicki Martina while volunteering for CAMP Rehoboth’s Women’s FEST. They have a Goldendoodle named Benjamin and a black cat named Boo. Nancy was born and raised in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Her Dad was a “Philly” guy and her Mom was from Dunn Center, North Dakota, a very small town in western North Dakota near the Badlands. Growing up, Nancy’s family vacationed in North Dakota, visited states and places outside of Philadelphia, and spent time in Ocean City, New Jersey. Nancy graduated from Wisconsin State University at LaCrosse in LaCrosse, Wisconsin. She spent eight years in LaCrosse after college before returning to Bucks County, PA where she worked as a research associate for 40 years. Nancy moved to Rehoboth from Philadelphia in 2013. In her spare time she loves to spend time with her partner Vicki and their “kids” Ben and Boo, sit on the beach and read, and she is learning to play golf.
When did you start volunteering at CAMP Rehoboth?
I began volunteering about four years ago. My partner Vicki was coordinating workshops for CAMP Rehoboth’s Women’s FEST and I helped her. I had been attending Women’s FEST for years as a participant, but that year I got to experience it from a different perspective.
What events or activities have you been involved with as a volunteer?
Women’s FEST and Sundance. I also taught first aid and CPR classes for the Red Cross for 27 years.
What’s your best memory volunteering here?
I love working at CAMP’s Women’s FEST event! So many women travel to Rehoboth to be part of this fabulous weekend. The behind the scenes work that goes on to bring in exciting performers, interesting workshops, and sporting events is mind boggling. To be part of the team that makes this all happen is challenging but very rewarding.
Favorite season at the beach?
Probably spring and fall. With Vicki and our friends I can explore the restaurants, shops, and even go to movies without fighting through traffic and crowds. The Rehoboth area has such a fabulous selection of restaurants we need the entire year to try them all! But, I also love sitting on the beach in the summer, and who doesn’t love our Rehoboth Christmas Parade…guess I really love the beach year round!
Name someone who influenced you while you were growing up.
There are many teachers and friends, but I think it was my Mom that influenced me and taught me the values I have today. She came from such a small town: dirt streets, wooden sidewalks, one school, farmers and ranchers who worked the land 14 hours a day. She had four siblings; she would work at her Mom’s restaurant, clean houses, and even scrub outhouses for a nickel. When I was growing up, she was always volunteering at church, the school PTA, and the local hospital. She always helped the neighbors, cooked meals, and took care of the elderly. When Mom was 82, she was still running the Hospital Auxiliary in Somers Point, NJ. Her energy and compassion for volunteering is a gift she gave to many. She was 89 when she passed away Mother’s Day weekend in 2009, and I miss her every day!
If you had an extra hour in the day what would you do?
Well, I wouldn’t do housework or yardwork. I’d be with Vicki for some quiet time together, cook a nice meal, and enjoy sitting on the deck with Ben and Boo.
Favorite U.S. city and why?
Philadelphia, because so much of our country’s history took place there. It’s an amazing place to visit and explore. Besides the historical sites, there are the museums, theatre, sporting events, and let’s not forget Philly cheesesteaks!
Best year of your life and why?
2012. I came to Rehoboth for CAMP Rehoboth’s Women’s FEST and met Vicki. Neither of us was looking for a relationship, we were quite content to grow old with our friends and family. We spent most of the weekend going to FEST events and continued to get to know each other with long, late-night phone calls. After three years we bought a house together and turned it into a home! Doesn’t matter how old you are you can still find love!
Favorite holiday and why?
Any holiday we can spend with family but especially Christmas. One of the many reasons I was attracted to Vicki was her strong ties to her family, especially her seven grandchildren. I lost my dad in 2012, but I have a sister and brother-in law in the Poconos. My nephews, niece, and four “great ones” are the joy in my life. Family times are precious and anytime we can be together is a holiday!
The LGBT community has made significant progress in the fight for equality over recent years. Did you expect to see this in your lifetime and why or why not?
When I was coming out in the ‘60s the idea of having the freedoms we have today was a dream. From closets for hiding and back alley bars, to marriage equality and five-star dining at gay owned establishments, it is a gift. It’s scary to think there are some areas of the country—some politicians—who would like to put us back in the closet and take away the equality we continue to fight for every day. I hope and pray that the younger generation will understand what we experienced and never take for granted what many worked so hard for. Equality is a right for everyone, not just the LGBT community. Everyone must work together until discrimination is a thing of the past!
How long have you been coming to Rehoboth?
My first visit to Rehoboth was in 1978, I started to visit regularly in the ‘80s, and then it was P-Town in the ‘90s. After getting tired of the drive north, I headed back to the Delaware beaches.
Since you began coming to Rehoboth, name the biggest change you’ve seen.
The large gay community that has retired here and the expansion of programs and services offered by CAMP Rehoboth. On the not so good side, the over development with little or no attention paid to infrastructure needs!
Name three events that have shaped your life to where it is today.
First, when Vicki had a stroke in 2013. I realized life as we know it can be changed in an instant. I’m grateful when I wake up in the morning and am blessed to experience another day. Second, retirement: after working every day for almost 50 years it only took three months to lose track of time! And, third, finding the love of my life at 66, love really has no boundaries!
What is your favorite part of Women’s FEST Weekend?
Celebrating our anniversary…we met at FEST!
What are you most thankful for?
Relatively good health, Vicki, the great community of friends we have, a loving family, and calling Rehoboth Beach, Delaware home!
Nancy, on behalf of everyone at CAMP, thank you for all of the work you do to with CAMP Rehoboth’s Women’s FEST Committee to make it such a successful event. We love having such a great volunteer and champion for CAMP Rehoboth.