If you know anything about Children’s Beach House, you know how highly we value long-term relationships, and that they are the keys to our success with the children and families we serve. Because we work with children over a long period of time, during critical developmental years (ages 7-18), we have the time and space for trusting relationships to develop between the children we serve and the adults who work and volunteer with them. Over time, the children come to know and trust CBH’s family engagement coordinators, camp counselors, kitchen staff, and volunteers. They also become open and receptive to their perspectives and feedback. The adults, in turn, come to know each child’s interests, talents, and challenges and come to know which of their experiences and opportunities would be most helpful to share. These lived and shared experiences and opportunities can include referrals to educational resources, career guidance, networking opportunities, access to potential internships, or employment prospects.
These opportunities don’t just provide access to opportunities to develop specific skills or pursue particular interests; They can also serve as opportunities to meet and work with people from different backgrounds, perspectives, or cultures -- which leads to greater understanding and appreciation for diversity.
Another long-term outcome of the positive relationships between young people and adults is that it fosters community involvement and civic engagement. Kids learn by example that it is important to “give back.” Relationships with committed and civic-minded adults inspire young people to step up to become active citizens, engage in community service, and contribute to positive change.
Of course, the relationships between our kids and the adults who support them are not the only relationships that make our work possible and successful. You, our supporters, are essential to that work too! Each month, as I write about the underlying philosophy of our program and describe the whys of what we do, I think about the people who are receiving this page (or screen) and I’m reminded once again of how blessed Children’s Beach House is to have such a committed base of supporters who make our work possible. Thank you for all you do to support our work and for being part of the legacy of Children’s Beach House!
Richard T. Garrett, Executive Director
And WOW! Was it Fun!
If the fog-shrouded DeLorean parked out front didn’t tell you, the opportunity to ride ET’s bike would have. Or the Elton John look-alike. Or the DJ with wings. Surely, the Lycra, shoulder pads, neon, big hair, fanny packs, and amazing music would have made it abundantly clear: CBH’s Beach BBQ, Back to the 80s, was One Fun Party!
It was also amazingly successful! Thanks to the record number of sponsors, the generous donors of auction items, the artists who made and donated one-of-a-kind surfboards, the volunteers who decorated the Beach House, the volunteers who staffed the event, and -- of course -- the kind and generous people who purchased tickets, Children’s Beach House raised more than $100,000 to support its programs – which is another record-breaking number for a CBH event. Thank you!
None of this could have happened without the hard work of the amazing event committee, which included event chair Kloe Thompson, Meg Gardner, Connie Miller, Justin Nixon, Kathy O’Hanlon, Isabelle Russell, Sandra Skidmore, and Amanda Worman. All of us here at CBH are deeply grateful to Kloe, her committee, and everyone who made Back to the 80s so fun and so productive.
What A Summer!
Highlights and Observations from Summer Camp 2023
During CBH summer camp, there is laser-like focus on the current moment or what immediately follows that moment. It has to be that way. When you’re dealing with dozens of active young people in an environment that includes a sprawling building, a swimming pool, a ropes course, and an ocean, and those kids are moving through a schedule that includes swimming, boating, horseback riding, and countless other activities, focusing on the moment is the only way to keep everyone safe and engaged. But, when summer camp comes to an end and there is finally time to catch one’s breath before weekend camps start up, it’s the perfect (and only) moment for CBH camp staff to take a quick look back at the summer that has just passed. Here is what they report…
It was a summer of crazy weather.
As for people just about everywhere, the summer of 2023 at CBH Camp was influenced by the wacky weather. On several days, camp counselors had to reduce or eliminate outdoor activity when the air quality was poor because of the forest fire smoke blowing down from Canada. The camp staff changed course, ditched their planned outdoor activities, and quickly cooked up new things for the campers to do indoors. Fortunately, they had a bit of advanced notice to do that. That was not the case on several other occasions when torrential rainstorms -- which had not been predicted and weren’t showing up on real-time weather apps -- suddenly blew across Delaware Bay and deluged the Beach House. In those cases, safety was the first priority; keeping dry was the second; regrouping with a new indoor activity came third – and usually just as the storm outside was ending.
It was a summer when kids at camp acted like kids at camp.
Camp coordinator, Jonathan Freeman-Coppadge reports that, even though the behavior of weather was unpredictable, the behavior of the campers was not. As always, campers who were away from home for the first time needed extra support, clear and repeated directions, and more frequent checking in – things the counselors were prepared and happy to do. For middle schoolers, as always, the counselors’ focus was on helping them learn how to relate to one another with kindness and restraint. Middle school is a fraught time. Children’s inner lives and social lives become more complex, and they test new ways to navigate them. Sometimes it required a bit of coaching to help them do that kindly. And, for the camp’s high schoolers, whose attention is inevitably fragmented by other obligations and interests, the task at hand was to help them manage and prioritize their increasing responsibilities. For some, this meant cutting back on Children’s Beach House activities to make room for school activities or part-time employment – a bittersweet development that indicates the Youth Development Program is working and the kids are confidently moving on.
It was a summer that marked progress.
After a Covid-mandated hiatus, this past summer marked the second year CBH camp was back in full swing. And it showed. Last summer, Jonathan Freeman-Coppadge noted that campers who had been isolated by the pandemic had to have their behavior corrected and redirected repeatedly. They were out of practice and needed a great deal of coaching to remind them how to properly engage with one another. This year, the kids were more easily and more naturally kinder, like they had retrieved a skill that had been temporarily lost. The camp staff also hit their stride this year. With eight of the nine camp counselors returning for their second year, they had the skills, confidence, and connections with the campers that made it easier to intuitively and seamlessly manage all aspects of camp life.
And, as always, it was a summer of profound experiences.
There are always little epiphanies that take place at CBH camp sessions. Also, periodic big ones. Some come quietly during exchanges between campers; Others come loudly and in larger crowds. When asked about the moments that campers shared or that they witnessed themselves, the camp staff shared these moments of camper insight: After a sailing lesson at the Lewes Yacht Club, one of the high school students announced, “It changed my life! You’re just out there. It’s just you and your thoughts on the water.” Such is the power of an unplugged moment with nary a screen in sight. At the other end of the spectrum -- loud, crowded and fully plugged in – was when the same group of high school students were the special guests of the Freeman Arts Pavilion at a Go Go Gadjet concert. The kids loved the energy of the event and how special they felt when they discovered that their seats were close to the stage. It was completely mind-blowing, then, when they got to meet the band members, who happily and generously autographed the campers’ shirts and bandanas and made them feel special.
The campers also had moments of insight about community service. A highlight of every week-long camp session this summer (and last summer) were the mornings they spent exploring Delaware Bay, thanks to the generosity of Freedom Boat Club and its members. On those occasions, boat club members took groups of CBH campers out on the bay on Freedom Boat Club-owned boats to learn about the bay, speed alongside pods of racing dolphins, and get a close-up view of the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse. Learning that their adventure was made possible through the donated time and resources of Freedom Boat Club, the campers felt, first-hand, the power of community service. Two groups of campers put that lesson to work when they each spent a morning volunteering at the Food Bank of Delaware, unpacking donations, sorting and organizing food, and re-packing it for distribution. They were happy to pay it forward.
Get ready for a race like no other!
Join us at the Crooked Hammock Brewery for our fantastic 5K Run and Crooked Crawl!
But it's not just about the race - it's about the celebration that follows! Bring your family and loved ones along for a day filled with excitement and joy. After conquering the 5K course, get ready to let loose at our incredible post-race party. Groove to lively music, engage in family-friendly activities, and indulge in delicious food and brews.
Not a fan of running? No problem! Sign up for the Crooked Crawl instead! You'll receive all the perks of the runners and start the race, but you can head straight to the post-race party for a day of non-stop fun!
Your Sponsorship, Fundraising Champion efforts, and participation supports the Margaret H. Rollins Child Development Center at the Children's Beach House, in loving memory of Ashley Nicole Furio.
Visit SeashoreStriders.com or text FURIO5K to 76278 to join the FUN!!
Last Day and First Day
At the Margaret H. Rollins Child Development Center
Energy is always high at the Margaret H. Rollins Child Development Center. (How could it not be with a gaggle of three- and four-year-olds running around?) But it’s never as high as on the last day of our summer program, when we say goodbye to the four-year-olds who are heading off to kindergarten, or on the first day of the new school year, when we say hello to our new three-year-olds. Here are a few photos of those fun days:
CBH Helps Kent County Kids Get Ready for School
Dover Festival included free bookbags, school supplies, games, music, food trucks, bounce house, and more
Children’s Beach House partnered with Dover First Seventh-day Adventist Church and Azulay Consulting Group to host a “Back to School Jam” on Saturday, August 27 to help area kids get ready for school.
A project undertaken by CBH family engagement coordinator, Armina Domingue, the event was designed to give CBH the opportunity to reach out to people in Kent County, tell them about our programs, and identify children and families who might need CBH support.
Over the course of the four-hour festival, CBH family engagement coordinators talked to over 200 families and gave away 289 book bags filled with school supplies. Bay Health was on hand to give away 12 bicycles and helmets through a free raffle.
Bay Health is the Delaware partner of Free Bikes 4 Kidz, a nonprofit that “brings communities together to sustainably furnish bikes to kids-in-need, providing a pathway to health, happiness and opportunity.”
“It was an amazing day,” said CBH family engagement coordinator, Armina Domingue, who organized the event. “We’re very well known in Sussex County, where our Lewes facility is located, but we’re less well known in Kent County. We know there is need there, so this event helped to introduce Children’s Beach House to families who might need our help and to churches, teachers, and local officials who might need to refer children to us. We even connected with three school principals from the Capital School District.”
Get your raffle tickets today! The drawing for the winner is September 29th!
This raffle is a fundraiser for Children's Beach House. By purchasing a raffle ticket, you are supporting our mission and helping the children and families that we serve across the state of Delaware. One lucky winner will be chosen at random by a drawing that will be streamed live on our Facebook page on Friday, September 29th!