Giving Thanks and Honoring Legacy
Until the second week of March, I thought CAMP Rehoboth’s 30th anniversary celebrations would dominate our agenda this year. If only that had been the case! But, Friday, March 13th hit and life took on a completely new meaning.
Facing unprecedented challenges and establishing strategies to sustain CAMP Rehoboth through the pandemic quickly became, and remained, the primary focus of nearly all our efforts through 2020.
Working in concert with Executive Director David Mariner, as well as the staff, the CAMP Rehoboth Board was able to identify sources for emergency funding and find ways to adapt our services and programming following CDC and Delaware guidelines.
Within the scope of the strategic plan the Board of Directors approved in 2019, we completed other important work this year. We reviewed and updated the organization’s bylaws, established a Governance Committee, and created charters to guide and direct our standing committees.
A newly adopted Board member term-limits policy was also established and will take effect this year; we will see five of the current Board members depart at the end of 2020. Representing nearly 25 years of collective Board service to the organization, these valued, committed, and dedicated members are: Glen Pruitt, Kathy Wiz, Jack Morrison, Max Dick, and Linda Gregory.
Each has left an indelible mark on CAMP Rehoboth and will be missed more than these words can convey. To honor their years of service, donations will be made in each of their names to organizations including PFLAG, Southern Delaware Alliance for Racial Justice, Rehoboth Bears, CAMP Rehoboth Chorus, and Sundance.
On a personal note, I extend sincere thanks to each of you for your dedication and support over these past several years. It has been an especially emotional and challenging period and I’ll cherish the many wonderful memories of working through these last several years together.
The Governance Committee then undertook a thorough and thoughtful process to identify prospective Board members and, given the immense pool of qualified volunteers, this was no easy process. CAMP Rehoboth is widely recognized for its amazing volunteer support, and we are reminded of this each time we experience Board vacancies.
At its last meeting in November, four new members were elected to the Board, effective January 1, 2021; these are: Pat Catanzariti, David Garrett, Leslie Ledogar, and Jason D. Mathis-White. We are excited at the prospect of working with this talented group and congratulate and welcome each of you! Features on these new members will appear in upcoming issues of Letters.
Officers elected at the same meeting are: Chris Beagle (President), Wes Combs (Vice President), Natalie Moss (Treasurer), and Mike DeFlavia (Secretary). Congratulations and welcome to the Executive Committee, first-time officers Wes and Mike. I look forward to working with this team and, along with the entire Board, have great confidence in its ability to continue to lead CAMP Rehoboth at this critical time.
Special thanks also to outgoing officers Glen Pruitt (Secretary) and Leslie Sinclair (Vice President). I’m personally grateful to both of you. Glen, you have raised the bar in this role. Leslie, while I’ve known from the beginning you didn’t have aspirations to serve as President in the future, I want to recognize that you were an amazing VP and I will forever be in debt to you for your ongoing support.
Earlier I mentioned the 30th Anniversary celebrations that we expected to host this past year. Obviously, COVID had other plans, but I’d like to close out this column with a very important announcement.
Beyond celebrating the milestone of three decades, we also had planned to honor the legacies of our founders, Steve Elkins and Murray Archibald, as a major part of the anniversary. And while it is exceedingly disappointing to not make this a public announcement, on behalf of the Board of Directors, I am tremendously honored to announce that, at its November meeting, we unanimously approved the formal naming of the Elkins-Archibald Atrium.
Otherwise known as the “big room,” it is the “heart” and major gathering place of the Community Center. Designed with windows to the skies above as its center focus, the symbolism didn’t go unnoticed as we contemplated this name.
This well-deserved recognition will be part of a broader effort to honor these gentlemen whenever we are able to gather again, hopefully in 2021, and hold our signature CAMP Rehoboth events (please stay tuned!). Your passion, dedication and career-long efforts to build and Create A More Positive Rehoboth have played a major role in why so many of us chose to make this wonderful, inclusive community our homes. In large part, this is due to your selfless and visionary leadership.
Now, for as long as the CAMP Rehoboth Community Center stands as the ‘Heart of the Home’ to so many and a pillar of the local LGBTQ population, it will be memorialized with your names on the marquee. A grateful CAMP Rehoboth community recognizes and honors you, Steve and Murray!
Our pride is abounding but limited by our grief that just one of you is here to share in this moment. But Steve, you’re forever in our hearts. And to you both, thank you for being our mentors, our teachers, and especially our friends. We will carry on your legacy in all of our work in the years ahead. We love you, always.