DEDHAM, Maine — Camp CaPella opened its 2009 summer season under gray skies Monday morning but also with the hope that brighter days are ahead, both literally and figuratively.
The camp, which for 45 years was a subsidiary of United Cerebral Palsy of Northeastern Maine, announced on Monday that it officially has been granted independent nonprofit status.
Dana Mosher, executive director of Camp CaPella, said the news assures a solid future for the only facility in the area that provides services to people with physical and mental disabilities.
“We will sustain this camp and expand our services in the months and years ahead, because when you see the faces of these kids at a camp all their own, then you know it serves a purpose in the best interests of our community,” Mosher said.
The camp was founded in 1960 on the shores of Phillips Lake in Dedham. UCP managed the camp until the end of 2005, when it announced that it could no longer support Camp CaPella financially, forcing the camp to close for two summers.
Volunteer advocates worked feverishly to raise money to reopen the facility. In the summer of 2008, those efforts paid off and the camp reopened.
“This new organization has worked so hard for two years to make this happen, and now they are able to take this giant step forward on their own,” said Bobbi-Jo Yaeger, executive director of UCP. “We are so glad that they have been able to bring Camp CaPella back to life with a sustainable future.”
Not only has the camp reopened, but Mosher and others have extended its offerings and plan to provide services and programming year-round. The facility features a recently renovated lodge, bunkhouse, bathhouse with individual showers and a ramp leading to the water and boating area.
“UCP created a great facility here, and our campers are so grateful that Camp CaPella will be open this summer and fall and winter and next spring, and for years to come,” Mosher said.
Monday began the first of eight one-week sessions throughout the summer. The first two weeks, along with weeks five and six in July, are open to youth ages 5-13 and their families. Weeks three and four are offered to campers ages 14-20 and their families. While the limit is 25 campers each week, there are still some openings. For more information, visit the Web site, www.campcapella.org.