By Maria Saporta
Camp Twin Lakes will mark two milestones on Tuesday.
First, it will have an in-person ground-breaking ceremony for its third year-round campus. The new campus will enable it to serve 3,500 more campers annually, including those in populations it previously has not been able to serve.
And it will announce the public launch of its “Growing Together” campaign to raise $22.5 million – the largest campaign in Camp Twin Lakes’ 28-year history. The not-for-profit powers transformative camps for children and young adults with serious illnesses, disabilities, and other life challenges.
“Thanks to the generosity of our donors, we have achieved our fundraising goal of $22.5 million to fund the construction of our third, year-round campus,” said Jill Morrisey, CEO of Camp Twin Lakes. “We are reaching out to the community now to raise additional funds to fill the camp with adaptive equipment, supplies, and campers.”
Camp Twin Lakes currently operates two year-round campuses in both Rutledge and Winder, Ga. The third year-round campus is being built on additional land the organization owns in Rutledge, Ga.
The “Growing Together” campaign received significant support from many of the top foundations in Georgia. The Marcus Foundation donated $5 million; Joseph B. Whitehead Foundation donated $5 million; the Arthur M. Blank Family Foundation donated $2 million; and the James M. Cox Foundation donated $1 million.
Additionally, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta provides clinical support at all campsites and helps keep campers healthy and safe from illness and injury at Camp Twin Lakes and beyond.
The community rallied behind the “Growing Together” campaign largely because of the history of leadership that surrounds Camp Twin Lakes.
Doug Hertz, now chairman of United Distributors, envisioned the idea when he was in the 1990 class of Leadership Atlanta. He galvanized community support for it to open in 1993. Hertz continues to serve as the board chair of Camp Twin Lakes.
The late Pete Correll, former CEO of Georgia Pacific, also played a key role in the development of the camp with his company donating the land. His daughter, Elizabeth Correll Richards presided over the board for years and led the nonprofit’s strategic plan for growth. Also Hertz and Richards co-chaired the “Growing Together” campaign.
Camp Twin Lakes provides year-round, fully accessible, and intentionally designed camp programs that teach campers to overcome obstacles while creating shared experiences with other children who face similar challenges.
The organization currently serves 10,000 campers annually, and it also provides scholarships to 100 percent of campers through a donor funded Camper Scholarship Program so that no child is ever turned away due to inability to pay. Over the last 28 years, demand for programs has consistently increased.
Morrisey said the campaign will help meet the demand of existing camp partners, and it will forge partnerships to serve new populations, including children with mental health diagnoses and those living in poverty.
“Now more than ever, we understand the benefit of connection and community on mental health, and we will be expanding our programs to address this critical need for all campers and their families,” Morrisey said. “Now, we are relying on the community to help fill the cabins with 3,500 more campers by supporting our donor funded camper scholarship program.”
The goal is to ensure that every child has access to a transformative life experiences while at the Camp.
“There are also opportunities to help fund the supplies that are needed to create a memorable camper experience, including everything from adaptive bikes and helmets to adaptive boats and life jackets, to arts and crafts supplies,” Morrisey said.
Medical supplies are also needed to help stock Camp’s medical care facility where campers receive onsite treatments, learn about their condition and their medications, and practice becoming more independent to better manage their own health care.
“Since 1993 Camp Twin Lakes has created experiences to build confidence, create leaders, encourage dreams and ultimately transform lives,” Hertz said. “Our growth through the years has been intentional and driven by the need in our community. Our first summer camp session served 1,000 campers, and we now proudly serve nearly 10,000 campers annually through year-round camp programming. We are grateful for the community who helped us get here, and we are asking for continued support as demand for our programs steadily grows. There is a great need to serve more children, as well as the partners who serve with us.”
Construction will be led by Atlanta-based builder Reeves Young. The architectural and design firm of Lord Aeck Sargent (a Katerra company). The new campus will open to serve campers for year-round camping programs in 2023.