It’s not every day that former Speaker of the House Pete Schwartzkopf drops by with a tribute directly from the Delaware House of Representatives. But one day, in early June, that’s what Pete did.
The tribute came after CAMP Rehoboth’s Treasurer, Natalie Moss, stepped down from her all-volunteer position after more than 30 years in that indispensable role. Pete and Natalie’s colleagues understood the enormity of her donation of time and expertise and were delighted to see the milestone recognized by the Delaware House of Representatives.
According to the tribute, Natalie left an enduring legacy for CAMP Rehoboth with “work spanning the non-profit organization’s very early years and its growth and expansion into a full-service LGBTQ community center known as the heart of the community.
Natalie’s thousands of volunteer hours are legendary and are responsible for much of the organization’s financial health. The Delaware House of Representatives extends its sincere gratitude.”
From detailed accounting reports to her penchant for recklessly bidding up live auction items, to the perfection of the Sundance/SUNFESTIVAL auction logistics, Natalie’s three-decade-long passion for CAMP Rehoboth and joy in her job made her a volunteer to both appreciate and emulate.
On Natalie’s way to her volunteer career with CAMP Rehoboth, she had a varied and impressive work history. She played saxophone and guitar in an all-women dance band, traveled up the ranks in the retail fashion industry, and—most famously—owned an ice cream shop called Temptations. Inspired by Oscar Wilde, the shop’s motto was “You can resist everything except Temptations’ homemade ice cream.” With her recipes featuring up to 17 percent butter fat, resistance was futile.
Natalie started visiting Rehoboth regularly in the late 1960s, camping in Cape Henlopen State Park. Tent camping turned into group-house life after Natalie came out of the closet—and began organizing group houses with her friends. She bought her first beach house in 1982.
At that same time, as owner of the ice cream store, she also worked a bit on the side helping people with their tax returns. Realizing she had an eye for business and a mind for numbers, she pursued her accounting degree at the University of Maryland.
After more than a decade of inventing recipes, scooping, and selling her ice-cream creations, meeting and greeting customers and building a successful business, Natalie sold Temptations and spent an entire summer in Rehoboth Beach. She discovered where she was always meant to be.
But it was a 1992 “wish list” blurb for a bookkeeper in Letters, a newsletter for the newly-born non-profit CAMP Rehoboth, which sealed the deal. Natalie volunteered to keep the books, which turned into an offer to be the CAMP Rehoboth treasurer, and the launch of a 30-year volunteer history.
Never one for all work and no play, Natalie and an enormous posse of friends staked out their weekend spot on the sand at the Gordon’s Pond beaches and held forth there for all to visit. Thanks to Natalie and her pals, over the many years of stake-outs on the sand, untold numbers of men and women were introduced to people who became life-long friends. It was on the sand where Natalie met Evelyn Maurmeyer, her girlfriend of more than 30 years.
Following a progression experienced by many Rehoboth visitors, Natalie at first vacationed in shared summer rental housing. Her first beach home was out Route 24, followed by the purchase of a beach place in Eagles Landing. Her real estate adventures culminated in the design and construction of a beautiful, contemporary home in the Rehoboth Beach Yacht and Country Club. The house, featuring local artists’ works on the walls, was the site of many warm and wonderful gatherings of CAMP Rehoboth friends.
As a Certified Public Accountant with a growing practice, Natalie split her time between her home and her clients in suburban Washington, DC, and her beach home and CAMP Rehoboth responsibilities. Natalie, Evelyn, and their pups became full-timers at the beach in 2002.
For CAMP Rehoboth, she took on a multitude of tasks, including the financial aspects of the 501(c)3 designation, budgets, complex audits, real estate acquisitions, mortgage details, and much more. Keeping tabs on the fundraising for the community center buildings and overseeing the costs for repairs, operations, and growth brought both challenges and innovative solutions.
In addition to working with numbers, Natalie was a driving force behind the decade-long Starburst Gayla New Year’s Eve party at the Convention Center. And for more than a quarter-century, she immersed herself in the summer-long job of cataloguing the over 600 Sundance auction items, and tracking them from display to sale to winning bidders. During the last week of August and first week of September each year, Natalie practically lived in the auction room at the convention center, surrounded by glorious artwork, furniture, jewelry, sculpture, clothing, and certificates for luxury trips and experiences—all generously donated to CAMP Rehoboth.
When asked why she had such a passion for CAMP Rehoboth, Natalie would always say “I love the people I work with,” most notably its founders, the late Steve Elkins and his husband Murray Archibald, plus decades of volunteer board members, a tiny staff, and huge roster of volunteers. “But most of all,” she was quick to add, “I love the good we bring to the community. Whether they know it or not, for gay people who retire here or come here in the summer, it is CAMP that has made Rehoboth the accepting community that it is.”
Clearly, the state legislature agreed, as its tribute to Natalie Moss and CAMP Rehoboth also included mention of CAMP Rehoboth’s mission “…to be inclusive of all sexual orientations and gender identities…seeking cooperation and understanding among all people to build a safer community with room for all.”
And Natalie Moss spent over 30 years and inestimable hours as a Certified Public Accountant and passionate advocate for making that happen. ▼