Congratulations to Carol Parcher from Scarborough! She was the winner of the Labor Day Sweeps drawing at Pine Tree Society. Pine Tree Society Sweepstakes raises money to help Pine Tree Society transform lives. For information about the sweepstakes, call us at (207) 443-3341.
Pine Tree Society Blog
Our team of experienced Employment Specialists can help teens with disabilities prepare for a brighter future with a rewarding career. We aim to help bridge the gap between high school and adulthood by assisting teens and young adults who have little or no work history with an opportunity to explore possible careers through short-term work experiences.
Pine Tree Society is a provider of the Maine Department of Labor’s Division of Vocational Rehabilitation (DVR) Progressive Employment activities to assist youth in preparing for the transition from school to work.
Employment Specialist, Marie DeFranca explains, “Progressive employment is a way to give individuals between the ages of 14 and 22 a way to experience different types of work that they have never been exposed to. It’s beyond the scope of their everyday activities. It’s beyond working in a grocery store and maybe actually getting into a work experience that they wouldn’t otherwise have access to.”
Progressive Employment, also known as Career Development or Pre-Employment, provides individuals who have little or no work history, low skill levels, or other barriers a way into paid employment that builds momentum and provides a way to increase skill level and confidence.
Our Employment Specialists help facilitate company tours, informational interviews, job shadows, and short-term work experiences. We evaluate existing work skills, and identify training, support or accommodation needs. We help the individual develop interpersonal and customer service skills.
Progressive Employment eliminates the need to be “job ready.” Since it is low risk for both the employer and the participant, the barriers to gaining meaningful employment experiences are significantly reduced. These experiences help the individual build a resume and professional references.
DeFranca gives an example of how Progressive Employment actives are helping a young man she is working with explore a meaningful career opportunity. He currently works in a grocery store but he is interested in a career working with animals. DeFranca arranged for an informational interview and job shadow experience in a local veterinary practice. Watch a video about Progressive Employment below.
It was really fun!
Those words can be used to describe many things at Pine Tree Camp. In this case, Harmony was talking about spending the night in a tent at the overnight site, which was the thing she enjoyed most during her week at camp.
The pizza cooked outside over the fire earned a rave review.
“I had pepperoni and cheese pizza. Mmmm, Mmmm, Mmmm!”
After dinner, she really enjoyed doing a Mad-Lib and playing Red Light, Green Light with the other campers.
She says the highlight of the evening was the making and eating S’mores.
“They were DEEEEEE-licious!”
When it was time to turn in for the night, the girls in the tent were laughing and giggling a lot. Harmony said she was so tired, she fell asleep while some of them were still giggling.
In the morning, the bacon, eggs and potatoes got the day off to a yummy start before Harmony and her friends headed back to join the other campers for a busy day of swimming, boating and crafts at Pine Tree Camp.
On Friday, July 21, Pine Tree Society will open the doors of the Bath office at 149 Front Street during the Bath Art Walk from 4:00-7:00 p.m.
As you walk the halls, you will see over 60 paintings which have been featured on Pine Tree Society’s holiday cards over the past 50 years. This collection of quintessential Maine art features winter scenes including lighthouses, schooners, famous landmarks, and quaint little towns under a blanket of snow.
At 6:00, we will unveil the two paintings selected to be featured on the 2017 Pine Tree Society holiday cards.
Wine and refreshments will be served.
We cordially invite you to browse our art collection from 4:00 to 7:00 on July 21. While you’re here, plan to make an evening of it and ride the trolley to other Bath Art Walk sites, browse the shops in downtown Bath, eat dinner in one of the local restaurants, and take a little walk in the beautiful waterfront park behind our office.
Pine Tree Society has been selling holiday cards to support programs for Maine people with disabilities for over 50 years. We estimate that about $3 million has been raised in holiday cards sales during that time. Those funds have gone directly to transform the lives of Maine people with disabilities.
“It’s a big place. It can be intimidating when you walk in.”
That’s how Josh Brosious describes Lowe’s. He’s worked there for a year now and if there’s one thing he’s learned, it’s that “You can’t be afraid to ask questions. People will help you.”
Josh enjoys assisting customers by bringing their purchases out to the car and taking care of the carts once they load up.
He’s been a Pine Tree Camper for 20 years. When he was 10 years old and was at camp for the first time, he remembers being shy the first day.
“Then someone came up and said ‘Hi’ and I was fine.”
His first memory of camp is meeting friends, and that’s still his favorite part of the experience.
“When I go to Pine Tree Camp, I see old friends and meet new friends. I love the people.”
His advice to everyone is to “Go and have fun and talk to people. Everybody is so nice.”
Josh’s favorite Pine Tree Camp traditions are boating, kayaking and fishing. A major highlight for him this year was when he caught a bass.
“It was really cool. The water is really nice and I love doing all that stuff.”
He goes fishing when he’s at home, but when he’s at Pine Tree Camp it’s the only time of the year he has the chance to boat and kayak.
Josh’s week of summer camp is paid for by the generous contribution of a Pine Tree Camp 100 corporate sponsor. Pine Tree Camp never turns a camper away due to their ability to pay, and corporate contributions help ensure that open door policy stays firmly in place so people like Josh who can benefit from the program have the ability to do so.
Josh shares the Pine Tree Camp spirit with his community every day. Whether it’s meeting a new camper or seeing a customer at Lowe’s who needs help, he’s always happy to be the first to say “Hi.”
Pine Tree Camp is proud to be Maine’s only American Camp Association accredited camp providing services exclusively for people with disabilities. ACA Accreditation serves as an assurance to families that our camp cares enough to submit to a transparent, thorough review of our entire operation. Our voluntary participation in the professional development and accreditation process of the American Camp Association demonstrates our commitment to providing the best possible camp experience. That means that Pine Tree Camp has successfully completed the peer-review process, which includes a visit by an ACA-trained team of standards volunteers, signifying that we meet the standards that help ensure that current practices at our camp reflect the highest and most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation.
We Set Our Standards High
Earning and maintaining ACA accreditation takes time and commitment. We set our standards high, in an effort to provide our campers with an environment where they are having fun and are unaware of all of the work related to safety and learning, which has been carefully incorporated into the daily routine.
ACA-Accredited® Camps meet up to 300 health and safety standards. Accreditation is a family’s best evidence that Pine Tree Camp is committed to the health, safety, and overall well-being of their loved one.
To be accredited by ACA, we had to demonstrate sound practices in every aspect of camp management and operation, including:
- Site: Fire protection, food service, sleeping quarters, utility and maintenance systems.
- Transportation: Procedures concerning drivers, vehicles, and traffic on site.
- Health and Wellness: Staff qualifications, facilities requirements, record keeping, storage and distribution of medicines, contact information, and health forms.
- Operational Management: Safety regulations, emergency communication systems, procedures for intruders, and personal property regulations.
- Human Resources: Staff qualifications, screening and training, supervision ratios, and procedures.
- Program Activities: Aquatics, adventure/challenge, and staff qualifications for special programs.
Mandatory standards also include requirements for staff screening, emergency exits, first aid, aquatic-certified personnel, storage and use of flammables, emergency transportation, obtaining appropriate health information, among others.
The American Camp Association is a community of camp professionals, who, for more than 100 years, have joined together to share knowledge and experience to ensure high quality camp programs for children, youth and adults. As the only recognized accrediting body for the camp experience in the United States, ACA accredits approximately 2,400+ diverse camps nationally. However, that number represents only 25% of the camps that operate in this country. ACA’s goal is to continue to grow the number of accredited camps to ensure a safe and positive camp experience for more campers.
For more information about ACA Accreditation, visit the American Camp Association website at www.ACACamps.org.
“Amazing People. It’s very athletic, on the go, every day. I love to be outdoors hanging around people.”
Sitting in the shade of a tree near the waterfront, Caleb Truman, Session 2 camper, talks about what makes him want to come back to Pine Tree Camp each summer.
Everywhere you look, clusters of campers are enjoying a beautiful, breezy day at Pine Tree Camp. For many of them, this is their only opportunity of the year to enjoy activities such as boating, fishing, nature trails, archery, or just sitting on the waterfront watching the sky turn pink as the sun sinks on the other side of North Pond.
The beautiful scenery and recreational opportunities are only part of the magic though. As Caleb, and others quickly point out, the amazing people are at the center of what makes Pine Tree Camp great. People who accept you the way you are as “just one of the gang.” No staring. No judgment. Just friends who get together for six special days each summer for a restorative break from the stresses of everyday life.
Tonya Reeves has been coming to Pine Tree Camp for the past 10 years. She says she remembers what it was like to come for the first time. She said, “I was a very scared, very timid, little girl looking for a place that can accept me for who I am.”
She says she found that place at Pine Tree Camp.
During her stay at camp, her favorite things to do are drama and arts & crafts. She said she likes anything that “gets us involved as a human being.” She explains that society’s attitude toward people with disabilities can create a barrier to participating in such activities in her everyday life.
She says, “We get a lot of stares. We can’t do as many things in the community as we can at Pine Tree Camp.”
Each summer, 650 campers like Tonya experience the impact of the judgment-free zone at Pine Tree Camp. As campers enter the clearing, with North Pond in full view, they are welcomed with cheers from staff. Immediately campers “belong.” This isn’t something they are used to. From that moment on, campers are part of the Pine Tree Camp family. Through the support of their new, lifelong friends, they challenge themselves to try new activities like kayaking, archery or sleeping overnight in a tent. They enjoy Maine’s beautiful outdoors and don’t have to worry about barriers. For those six days, they are not different. They are just one of the gang. And their families get a much –needed break from the sometimes overwhelming demands of caring for a loved one with a disability.
“Pine Tree Camp symbolizes love, and friendship and freedom.”
That’s what Session 2 camper, Paul Ryan told us when we asked about the t-shirt he designed during Arts and Crafts.
“The rainbow symbolizes everything wonderful. Bright colors are just happy and free.”
If you walk around Pine Tree Camp during Session 2, you will find that most other campers echo Paul’s thoughts about how their 6 days at camp are their chance to spend time with old friends, make new friends, and get a break from the stresses of their day-to-day lives.
At Pine Tree Camp, while the sessions for children involve action-packed programming, our adults tend to like to have down time, connecting with nature at their own pace. They appreciate the time to just be present in their surroundings. This is a session that reminds us of the power of nature. For many, Pine Tree Camp is their vacation. Traditional vacations present too many barriers. This is their time away. Thanks to adaptive equipment and attentive, highly-trained staff, they enjoy barrier-free outdoor activities such as swimming, boating, archery, sleeping in a tent and fishing.
Look around and you will see small groups of campers everywhere you look, just relaxing and hanging out with friends on the swings, benches and picnic tables, smiling into the cool breeze that comes off North Pond. You will also notice that everyone is welcome to join these groups. Nobody is excluded.
Love. Freedom. Friendship. Thank you, Paul. We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.