Reflecting on this past year is a bit complicated.
On the one hand, in 2021, we are all still living during a pandemic with various restrictions in place, depending upon where you go. The number of COVID cases continues to increase, especially now with the new variant, Omicron. On the other hand, we had a wonderful year at Aaron’s Acres. Our goal was to continue to provide meaningful programs, as families shared with us that their stress levels were high and they still had to manage challenging behaviors with their children and young adults who have disabilities.
Families commented to us that they appreciated all of our efforts. Many parents and guardians shared that attending Aaron’s Acres programs, virtually and/or in person, were highlights for them, their children and the entire family. Parents shared that cooking as a family was something they had never done before, but because of Aaron’s Acres, they cooked together and had an “awesome time”. Virtual and then in-person programs took place, as the safety of our participants remained a top priority. Our staff and families continued to be flexible and think outside the box.
After a year with no in-person summer camp program, we appreciated simple summer sights, like campers swimming and riding horses or even just the smiles and joy of each child, even more this year.
As we continued to hold programs throughout the year, we also held the 11th Annual Golf Tournament for Aaron’s Acres, which is our most successful fundraising event. The funds raised at this event support all that we do at Aaron’s Acres. Connecting with our donors (and prospective donors) was also important for our Administrative Team. Sharing our story, especially during a pandemic, highlights the many unique challenges that our families face. We always appreciate the opportunity to bring awareness and new appreciation for our participants and their families within the local community.
Other highlights include:
- Aaron’s Acres facilitated 2 virtual panel discussions on financial planning when raising a children with a disability.
- We participated in a successful Month of Giving fundraising event with local Jersey Mike’s Subs locations.
- Aaron’s Acres Dream Makers visited summer camp, along with approximately over 60 people who wanted to learn more about organization and see camp in person.
- The Aaron’s Acres Angels, which includes teens between the ages of 12-17, planned and led a virtual Bingo event to raise funds for programming.
- Members of the Aaron’s Acres team made virtual and in-person presentations to local service groups, educational institutions and businesses throughout the year.
In October 2021, we had to face a new challenge.
In addition to the ongoing pandemic, the location for our summer camp program closed and we quickly needed to find a new location for Summer Camp 2022.
For the following month, our Administrative Team researched and spoke with over 30 possible facilities in hopes of finding a new place.
We are pleased to share our new partnership with the New Holland Community Park & Pool for the summer of 2022. They are very excited to have Aaron’s Acres camp program at their facilities and we are all most grateful for their support as we head into a new year and a new camp season.
In 2021, we celebrated our successes and worked through our challenges. Our organization continued to connect with families, staff, donors and the larger community. Our focus never shifted and we remained true to our mission.
Now, as we close out 2021 and look forward to 2022, we want to wish you a happy holiday season and a very happy new year!