A Vision for camp Dream
In the words of Mike Foote, DREAM’s Empowerment Officer and one of its founders, the ultimate goal of Camp DREAM is to “just offer incredible adventures.” Each season presents an opportunity for Camp DREAM to showcase new adventures. For the winter there’s snowshoeing, ice exploration, cross country skiing, sleeping out in igloos, in fall there’s the colors of the leaves and learning how to track, in spring there’s maple sugaring, team building, ropes courses, and the fire pit. “But in summers, you know, Camp really comes alive,” says Foote excitedly.
Camp DREAM has always offered the best of camp life in boating trips, hiking trails, camp fires, mountain biking and skits. But Camp is growing. “It’s becoming more specialized, where campers can learn skills and experience things you can’t experience anywhere else.” For example, this summer Camp DREAM has special themes planned, like space and space science week. During this themed period, Campers will be able to learn about the constellations, build their own rockets, learn about the physics of satellites, in addition to the traditional amp DREAM activities. “Another piece of Camp DREAM is that it’s meant to engage and catalyze kids’ imaginations. It’s supposed to be an incredible wonderland of interesting experiences.” Making the wonderland possible is an array of fun spaces for campers to explore, like a tree house they can sleep in, a garden where campers can tend to vegetables or feed the chickens, the ever-evolving Lodge, which now includes an arts and craft room, inspiring murals, an incredible collection of adventure equipment and gear in the Adventure Barn and the Great Hall, which now features a theater, a performance stage with a sound system, and much more soon to come.
Originally, the purpose of Camp DREAM was to provide year-round programs and activities for Dreamers. Village Mentoring concludes at the end of the academic school year so in DREAM’s early days the mentoring and activities would stop around May or June. Many of the founders of DREAM and early members had positive memories of their own days attending camp during the summer. The utility of owning a camp property would give Dreamers a year-after-year experience that would build deeper connections with fellow mentees and mentors, and potentially inspire future meaningful choices.
Camp DREAM’s first summer was 2004. It was purchased through a partnership with the Vermont Land Trust. In exchange for conserving the property, the Vermont Land Trust worked with the Housing Conservation to raise funds for DREAM to buy about 50 acres of land on Metcalf Pond in Fletcher, VT. The acquisition created the best of both worlds; not only does DREAM help preserve the precious natural beauty of the land but it also provides a space for youth to explore and appreciate the land. Both contribute to the continued preservation of Camp DREAM.