The DREAM Program INC. is a 501(c)(3) service organization established in the winter of 1998 and developed as a nonprofit in 2001. Its goal is to bring high quality mentoring and activity programing to at-promise youth through Summer Enrichment, Academic Support, Village Mentoring, and Adventures Unlimited.
"Through DREAM I got to see college life in a way that no campus tour can expose. I got to live a part of the life of a student. My time with DREAM made me realize how much fun it is to be living on a campus alongside other who will join me in melding with the rest of the world. My mentors taught me that the most important thing in this world is not how you succeed as a student but how you succeed as a person, cooperating with those in the world around you. Without DREAM, I and others like me may never have learned what it means to live with others, instead of living among others."
-Former DREAM mentee
"Through DREAM, my kids were able to again see their true place in the world, feel valued for who they were and what they had to offer, and begin to dream of a future where they were cherished and respected outside the walls of our apartment."
- DREAM Parent
DREAM in the Press
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The Other Paper, Vermont: Camp DREAM history and recent success
"Twin sisters Lily and Sam Provost, 13, of Milton, have attended DREAM summer camp for the past five years. Sam recalled some of her favorite memories swimming in the pond, jumping off the dock with friends and sleeping in the cabins. Lily shared a love for swimming on hot, humid days but she also learned something new — how to burn a s’more.
DREAM, which stands for Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure and Mentoring, is a Vermont-based nonprofit aimed at providing free programming for kids in low-income housing communities. The program provides afterschool and overnight camps, mentoring and college preparation..."
The Office of U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy: DREAM Program receives $1.25 Million from the Office of Juvenille Justice and Delinquency Prevention to Mentor Youth Affected by Opioid and Drug Addiction.
Vermont Biz: DREAM Program receives $15,000 in funding from Community Bank.
Hammond Climate Solutions: DREAM Program Won the Moonshot Grant of $25,000 to put solar panels on Camp DREAM Adventure Base's Lodge roof.
Vermont Biz: DREAM Program to receive funding from People's United Bank through their nonprofit grant program.
History of DREAM
Spring 2001 - Summer 2006
2009 - 2015
Spring 2019 - Spring 2021
The program traces its origins to 1998 when Kathryn Ross, an AmeriCorps member, was charged with the duty of providing after-school programming for the close to 100 children living at the Templeton Court Apartments, a Section 8 housing development. Kathryn connected with students attending Dartmouth, who quickly organized themselves into a weekly mentoring program that became known as DREAM (Directing through Recreation, Education, Adventure, and Mentoring).
By May of 1999, the program consisted of more than 30 mentoring pairs who undertook bold adventures together. Over the next two years, they planned and raised money to travel to Boston, Colorado, Montreal, and Washington DC. These trips laid the foundation for DREAM’s High Adventure program. DREAM's famous yellow and blue t-shirts were born as a safety precaution for keeping track of the 60 participants on their first big trip Boston together.
Many of the original mentors graduated in 2001, and two of the graduates decided to found a non-profit organization with a vision to have loving adults be meaningfully involved in children’s lives. They wanted to provide experiences that would allow DREAM’s youth to be well positioned to achieve their dreams. That and have fun.
New programs were started with the University of Vermont, Champlain College, St. Michael's College, and nearby communities. To address the need for summer and winter programming while mentors were on break, DREAM hired interns to provide summer programs in the communities, and purchased land in Fletcher, Vermont, which became Camp DREAM. Camp offered summer and winter adventure experiences. By 2006, year-round programming provided a constant mentoring presence in the lives of DREAM youth.
With a local program established at nearly every major college in Vermont, DREAM opened its doors in Boston in 2009 with two local programs: Boston University and the Orchard Gardens community; and Northeastern University and the Madison Park community. The program's successful adaptation from rural to urban setting was equally significant.
The DREAM program continued to expand, out of New England and down into Philadelphia, Pennsylvania to establish sites alongside Temple University and the University of Pennsylvania.
DREAMers from all across DREAM's regions continued to travel back to the Camp DREAM Adventure Base in Northern Vermont where campers learned to garden, build fires, and explore the shores of Metcalf Pond.
Amidst the instability of the Covid-19 pandemic, DREAM mentors and staff worked to provide mentees with virtual DREAM adventures and mentoring sessions. One favorite session had a group of mentees in Boston video-calling with dolphins and their marine mammal trainers!
DREAM staff additionally arranged supplies, learning material, and snack drop offs into DREAM communities. Carefully crafted activity books, summer adventure magazines, and Valentines spread smiles, not germs.
We DREAM BIG at DREAM,
who knows where our next adventures will take us?
Care to join us?
The DREAM Program INC. is a 501(c)(3) service organization established in the winter of 1998 and developed as a nonprofit in 2001. Its goal is to bring high quality mentoring and activity programing to at-promise youth through summer enrichment, academic support, village mentoring, and unlimited adventures.
This Website is funded in part through a grant from the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Office of Justice Programs, U.S. Department of Justice. Neither the U.S. Department of Justice nor any of its components operate, control, are responsible for, or necessarily endorse, this Website (including, without limitation, its content, technical infrastructure, and policies, and any services or tools provided).