“I just love camp!”
That’s what Pine Tree Camp’s new Assistant Director, Dana Zimmerman, says when you ask what her favorite part of her job is.
She loves it all.
What she loves most about Pine Tree Camp is the philosophy that no challenge is too big.
“The staff is creative and adaptive,” said Zimmerman. “There’s no challenge they’re not willing to undertake.”
She majored in Recreation Management and minored in Outdoor Leadership and has worked for camps around the country ever since. Much of her experience has been with camps for people with disabilities.
Pine Tree Camp Director Dawn Willard-Robinson appreciates the fresh set of eyes Zimmerman brings as well as her extensive experience with creating intentional programming for campers.
“Her main focus will be on enhancing our programming so we can have an even greater impact on the lives of our campers,” said Willard-Robinson.
With intentional programming, there is always a goal in mind. For example, a nature program might also help a camper develop a social skill such as teaming up with a new friend to identify a plant or animal track together along the trail.
Zimmerman has a strong background working with challenge courses, which is a terrifi c asset for Pine Tree Camp.
“Last year we built a four element challenge course and Dana is going to help us develop programming so we can use it to its full potential for our campers,” said Willard-Robinson.
Each of the four elements of the course has multiple ways it can be used and Zimmerman loves the fact that the possibilities are endless.
“A challenge course is something that hasn’t been available to our campers in the past and it’s an experience they can’t have anywhere else,” she said.
In addition to creating programming, the next step is to develop a more extensive accessible trail system along the course.
Zimmerman is also working on all the possibilities for the camp’s waterfront and making it even more accessible.
A new program she’s heading up with the Career Development team is an effort to help interested campers transition to becoming camp staff.
“It’s an exciting time to work here. We’re always looking outside of the box and with Dana on the team, we can serve more people and expand camp programming further than ever before,” said Willard-Robinson.
Pine Tree Camp impacts more than 650 children and adults with disabilities each summer. For many, this is their first opportunity to participate in outdoor activities like swimming, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and boating. Participating in activities that take people beyond their disabilities has a tremendous impact. It builds self-esteem and self-confidence. That experience, coupled with meeting friends who understand, and experiencing the feeling of acceptance is transformational.