The Pine Tree Camp in Rome is in the middle of some major improvement projects. When finished, it’s hoped the camp will become a year-round destination.
For decades, the Pine Tree Camp has been changing the lives of adults and kids with physical and developmental disabilities by providing them a summer getaway and a chance to explore and discover new things. Thanks to a host of new improvements, the experience for campers is about to get a whole lot better.
Monday they unveiled the first of six new cabins, which will house 16 campers. It’s completely handicap accessible, with touch-pads to open doors, specialized bathrooms with showers, and climate controls. It’s a far cry from the old accommodations where there’s no escape from the summer heat.
“What you and I might be able to sluff off as just a hot day sometimes can be quite negatively impactful for someone who might have trouble cooling their own body. It’s a safer environment,” said Noel Sullivan, CEO and President of the Pine Tree Society
Nicholas Alexander. 13, has been coming to the camp for the past six years.
“I’ve met like 100 friends I think,” he said with a big smile on his face.
Nicholas served as our tour guide for the day showing us some of his favorite places like this tree house where he gets to come and just relax. He has also been a major catalyst behind some of the improvements around the camp. He came up with the idea for a handicap accessible swing that gives kids confined to wheelchairs the sensation of swinging that many of us take for granted. He’s also come up with an idea for a new accessible playground and has been one of the driving forces behind the fundraising efforts.
“I’ve been coming here for six years and i know what people go through. And I just want to help out. I want to donate my time to Pine Tree Camp,” he said Tuesday.
These improvements are part of a $7-million capital plan, but they still have around $1 million left to raise. To some, that may seem daunting, but not to Nicholas.
“It makes me feel awesome and we’re gonna overhaul this place pretty soon.”