June 14th we had an open house from 12:30 to 3:30 at our new headquarters in Peoria, Illinois.
At least a hundred visitors passed through our facilities throughout the day and enjoyed the free BBQ pork sandwiches, hot dogs and drinks.
Here is a brief tour of what our visitors were here to see. I'll start with the offices of our Executive Director, Associate Director, Camp Coordinator and Administrative Assistant.
As you enter the front door you will be greeted by our Camp Coordinator, Lauren, who is not at her desk right now because she's helping our visitors, our chimes choir and with the many fun things we presented. Lauren organizes our sponsors, camp locations, volunteers, equipment, travel, schedules, pretty much everything that makes our camps run so smoothly.
A little further in is the office of our associate director, Larry, who is not at his desk either because he is out in the parking lot greeting incoming visitors. Larry finds sponsors for our camps, scouts for suitable, handicap accessible camp locations, and also is the nation-wide manager of our Strike Out Stroke division. Strike Out Stroke is a nation-wide organization providing stroke awareness and education through major league baseball teams.
At the back of the building is Marylee's office. Marylee is our Executive Director. She does everything else plus make sure the rest of us do everything else as well. Without her and her husband John there would not be a camp.
We have a new member of our staff, Martha, who is taking care of our multitude of administrative tasks plus office maintenance, and her office is between Larry's and Lauren's. For some reason I don't have a picture of her desk. Her office looks similar to the others and is even a little bigger. She's not at her desk either because she's helping with paraffin dips, which I'll explain later.
One of the entertaining events at the open house was our chimes choir.
The choir members are stroke survivors, primarily, and their caregivers, and is led by Susan, one of our Music Therapists, and Lauren, who is also a Music Therapist in addition to being our camp coordinator. Each member has a chime instrument that produces a unique and beautiful tone. With Susan's and Lauren's direction and Monica the soloist and a caregiver herself, they create a symphony that can bring tears to your eyes. That's Monica standing behind the choir.
Another fun thing to do was a game of Bags played similar to horseshoes. The idea is to get the bag in the hole or be the closest team bag on the board.
Remember me mentioning paraffin dip? Here's how it's done.
This is one of the things we do during the manicuring sessions at camp. You dip your hands in the warm melted paraffin...
...put your hand inside the soft cotton glove, and let the magic soak in. This is very popular at the camps.
Here is our meeting/recreation/chimes choir practice room. During the open house, Sarah, Marylee's sister, led some of the attendees in a drum circle. Another popular and frequent event at our camps.
We also had our educational learning center set up to promote stroke education and awareness.
The highlight of the open house was when Marylee's brother, Rodney, presented a check for ten thousand dollars to the camp in memory of his late wife, Meme. Rodney and Meme have been terrific supporters and active in camp events for many years.
Through his generosity many stroke survivors who could not otherwise be able to afford to attend camp will now be able to.
Thank you Rodney! We and many less fortunate stroke survivors are blessed to have you and your support.
I would also like to give a thank you to all the volunteers who helped make our open house special, and a special thanks to one of our voluteers, Tony Ozella, and the Knights of Columbus of Washington, Illinois for the use of their tent and BBQ grills, and a thanks to Earl and Carol Lee for the use of their tents.
We've come a long way since our first camp in 2004. Where are we now? Maybe this will help you appreciare our growth. Each circle represents either a camp location (yellow) or a major league baseball game where we've done a Strike Out Stroke event (white).
And we are still growing.