News

Congratulations Angie!

Just a few days before World Down Syndrome Day, Angela Armenta became one of the first women with Down syndrome to complete a marathon when, on Sunday, she finished the LA Marathon (alongside her sister and PALS counselor Becky). You can find a summary of the race on Angela’s website. You can also vote to have the story of her marathon published in the NDSS newsletter. Meanwhile, we thought you’d enjoy some photos:



March 21 is World Down Syndrome Day!

Today we’re celebrating World Down Syndrome Day. It’s especially notable that this year the United Nations will be observing this special day with us. What can you do today? Tell others about your experience with Camp PALS and share the gifts and abilities of those with Down syndrome. We at Camp PALS also want to take this occasion to say how privileged we feel to have met so many amazing individuals whom we can call friends, and to have the opportunity to continue working with you all.

- Jenni

(For more on World Down Syndrome Day, check out the NDSS website here.)

Fundraising results

Wow! Your fundraising efforts this year have been nothing short of amazing. Together you’ve gone above and beyond our expectations and raised $78,395! It’s been incredible to watch this community join together in support of Camp PALS, and it’s great to know that we have such fantastic supporters and advocates.

Because the fundraising was successful, this summer we will be able to offer four different PALS programs across the country, including the first ever Camp PALS West and two more PALS Tours weekends. Thanks to your efforts, we will be welcoming over 165 individuals with Down syndrome and over 220 volunteer staff members to be a part of these PALS rograms in 2012. We are so grateful for your passion and humbled by your commitment to our community. Thank you sincerely.

With great Camp PALS love,

- Jenni, on behalf of the PALS Executive Board
P.S. You can still make donations here!

Only 4 days til the LA Marathon!

T.S. Eliot said April is the cruelest month, but he wasn’t training for a marathon in March. The March 18 LA Marathon is this weekend and the Armenta sisters are ready for it. If you want to follow their progress, see videos of Angela’s training group, or send her a note, check out her website here.


On a personal note, I recently ran a half marathon and a week later I was still walking like a duck. I’ve rarely been so exhausted or so relieved as when I got to the turnoff for half-marathoners, while marathoners like Angela and Becky continued on another 13+ miles. Keep up the training! We’re completely amazed at what you’re doing and everyone from Camp PALS will be cheering for you!

- Alex

Katie McCurdy on HBO!

We got this note from Katie McCurdy’s family and we wanted to share the news so you could all tune in and catch her Hollywood debut:

Hello friends and family,

Katie has hit the big time!!! She has a small speaking exchange with Julianne Moore in HBO’s movie “Game Change"—premiering this Saturday, March 10th at 9:00pm (EST). Please click here to learn more and be sure to scroll down the screen to the credits - Cast - then Full Cast and Crew and you will see her name—Kathryn McCurdy as "Rope-line Kid Sarah.


- Cynthia

You can see clips from the movie here (skip ahead to 4:23).

Congratulations Katie! We can’t wait to see you on HBO!

Ad hoc PALS reunion in Florida

Stef Altman sent us this note about a PALS get-together in Florida and we wanted to share it with you. If you have any mini-reunions let us know about them—we love to hear from you and we especially love photos!

“I met up with Sam Piazza, Nick Altieri, and David Scott yesterday in Tampa. It was truly a mini Florida reunion! We got frozen yogurt and shot some hoops in Nick’s back yard. Just wanted to let you know!”

Thanks Stef!


Team Armenta

Have you ever run a marathon? It’s traditionally accepted as the most grueling of all sports events, and Camp PALS’ own Armenta sisters have decided to tackle one. The LA Marathon will take place on March 18, but Angela and Becky have been training for months. Just this weekend they completed their first half-marathon! Check out the story and a video here. Also have a look at this story about Angela’s training and her training partners. Congratulations on your half marathon, and good luck training for March – we’ll all be cheering for you!

~ Alex

Halfway there

We’ve hit $25,000!

That means we’re already halfway to our fundraising goal, and we’re not even into the new year yet. Thanks so much to the many members of the Camp PALS family who have set up donation pages and the hundreds of donors who have made this such a successful campaign so far.


Halfway there means halfway to go, though, so here’s a request for everyone to make an extra push before the holiday season is over. You can set up a page or make a donation (it only takes 1 minute). Let’s see how far we can reach before 2012!

- Daniel
Daniel de Zeeuw is a 5-time Camp PALS counselor and Chair of the PALS Counselor Board
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Camp PALS is coming to the West Coast!


We are incredibly excited to welcome the newest addition to the PALS family – Camp PALS West.  The Camp PALS West program launches next summer in the Bay Area, allowing campers age 16 – 25 to experience the magic of Camp PALS on the west coast.
Stay tuned in the next few weeks for an announcement of all the available PALS Programs for 2012.  In the meantime, please join us in supporting and congratulating our west coast directors James Kuczmarski and Kate Fleming, and check out the blog later this month for more details.

With great excitement,
Jenni, Josh, Jason & Abby

John Shulby in the news

Camp PALS’ very own golfer extraordinaire John Shulby was featured in a great newspaper article yesterday. The article discusses his friendship with a local high schooler and how it opened the way to a position on the football team, increased his confidence and introduced the football players to someone they might never have otherwise met. John has also become something of a local hero at the school, acknowledged by all when he walks down the hall. Check out the story here.

- Alex
Alex Urquhart is a three-time PALS counselor who spends the other 51 weeks of the year playing geologist in beautiful New Mexico.

Camp PALS fundraising campaign announced!

The Camp PALS Counselor Board today announced the 2011-2012 fundraising campaign with a new, higher-than-ever goal of $50,000. Last year, the Camp PALS community really came together to help us reach our goal of $45,000, and this year we’re hoping they can do it again.

All money raised in the campaign goes towards covering the cost of Camp PALS and PALS Tours. This includes providing scholarships to all campers who need it. The campaign will help ensure that our programs continue to grow and improve, but we also want to make sure that money is never an issue for any camper who wants to attend.

This is why we’re asking for your help to make this campaign as successful as possible. Here’s how you can help us achieve our $50,000 goal:

1) Set up your own personalized fundraising page here (it’s fun and only takes a minute).

2) Tell all your friends and family about Camp PALS—classmates and teachers, co-workers and bosses, coaches and teammates, aunts, uncles and next-door neighbors. Talk to them about what Camp PALS means to you and let them know that every single $1 donated will make a difference to someone you know. No donation is too small or too large!

Get involved today and show us your Camp PALS love. Together we can continue to make Camp PALS the best summer camp in the entire world!

- Alex

New Assistant Director!

A few weeks ago, we reached out to our counselor community in search of a new Assistant Director for the Camp PALS team in Pennsylvania. After a careful review process, we are excited to announce that Jenn Grobe will be joining Tyler, Paul and myself in leading Camp PALS 2012.

Jenn has been part of the Camp PALS family for over four years. She has served as both a counselor and head counselor, and we are confident that she will do a tremendous job in this new position as Assistant Director. Jenn is a special educator major at Ohio University and so brings great knowledge of this community to her role. With her energy and devotion to Camp PALS, Jenn has recruited more counselors to our community than almost any other individual. With her help, we will make sure that Camp PALS 2012 is the best week ever!

You can contact her at jenn@camppals.org. Please join us in congratulating her!

Thanks,

Jenni


Support Funding for People with Down Syndrome

Dear Camp PALS Family,

As some of you may know, Down Syndrome is the least funded genetic condition by the NIH yet it is the most frequent chromosomal disorder. Currently, the NIH has issued a “Request for Information” regarding a Down Syndrome registry, research database and biobank. They are expecting responses from the Down Syndrome community and anyone who is interested in supporting people with Down Syndrome. If they have a large and clear response, the NIH will be more likely to help fund this type of research. The deadline to respond is Friday, April 1.

Camp PALS is supporting the Global Down Syndrome Foundation in getting as many responses as possible to the NIH. Will you help us? You can cut and paste the text below and…
  • Send it as an email to: dsrdrfi@mail.nih.gov
  • Send a copy to: nihresponse@globaldownsyndrome.org
  • Subject line: “Response to NIH Down Syndrome Research Database & Biobank RFI”
Feel free to use the email below in its entirety or edit it as you see fit.

Thank you for joining us and the Down Syndrome community at large in this effort!

Jenni

—-

To Whom It May Concern:

It is morally, economically and scientifically important that the National Institutes of Health increase funding for people with Down syndrome.

We are pleased the the Linda Crnic Institute for Down Syndrome and the Global Down Syndrome Foundation have taken the lead with the NIH in this regard. We support and agree with their assessment of what the parameters should be for our future centralized Down syndrome patient registry, database and bio bank.

Please continue to work towards this end. We appreciate NIH’s renewed interest in Down syndrome research and we appreciate NIH addressing the historical and alarming disparity of funding for research that would improve the lives of people with Down syndrome.

Sincerely,
(your name)

Remember to send by April 1st!


2011 Fundraising Campaign: Success!

The Camp PALS family has WOWed us once again! As we approach the last three days of our second annual fundraising campaign, an amazing thing happened. We surpassed our $45,000 fundraising goal, raising a total of $47,564.
It has been an incredible effort by everyone and we just wanted to thank you all for making Camp PALS possible once again. Without your hard work, the best week of our year simply does not happen.

If you still have donations pending, please continue to get them. The official campaign will be over soon, but we can always do more to ensure the long term sustainability of Camp PALS.

Again, thank you all SO MUCH for all you do for Camp PALS. We are lucky to have such a caring, generous community of friends.

See you this summer!

Robert, on behalf of the Camp PALS Board

Phil sees no shadow; Camp PALS six weeks closer!

The news out of Pennsylvania today –although far away from Cabrini College –is that Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow. While for most of America Phil’s annual demonstration might be back page news, in PA we take Phil very seriously! He’s one of the few things that never fail to put PA on the map. This is the first time since 2007 that Phil has not seen his shadow. When this famous groundhog does not see his shadow, it means that winter will end six weeks earlier than planned. This is definitely welcome news to all of us living in the Northeast.

So in my capacity as the official weatherman of Camp PALS, I am happy to proclaim that Camp PALS is now six weeks closer! Well, ok, it’s still being held from June 12-18. But with the fact that we are now destined to have six fewer weeks of winter, it just feels that much closer! I, for one, can’t wait!

Wishing all of you an early Spring,
Josh

Camp PALS website gets a facelift

Over the years, the Camp PALS website has developed from a single, text-heavy page to an interactive, photo rich website. Today, we’re excited to unveil the next evolution of the Camp PALS site:


You’ll still see the familiar Campers, Counselors, and About Us pages– but you’ll also see updated photos, faster loading times, and slightly more polish around the edges. I hope you enjoy this change and encourage you to tell us what you think.

Jason

Monica & David on HBO

In April we blogged about Monica & David - a documentary featured at Tribeca Film Festival about two adults with Down syndrome who recently got married.  The film was met with great reviews and ended up winning the Best Documentary jury award at the festival.



HBO caught wind of the film and will be showing it over the next few weeks– beginning tonight at 8:00 PM ET/PT.  Additional show times are as follows:

  • October 17th | 3:45pm ET/PT, 2:45pm CT
  • October 20th | 8:30am ET/PT, 7:30am CT
  • October 20th | midnight ET/PT, 11pm CT
  • October 23rd | 9:30am ET/PT, 8:30 am CT
  • October 26th | 2:15pm ET/PT, 1:15pm CT

For more information, visit monicaanddavid.com.  We hope you enjoy the film as much as we did!

-Jason

Camp PALS walks for DS awareness

Last Saturday a group of campers and counselors joined thousands of other volunteers and participants for the National Down Syndrome Society’s Annual Buddy Walk in Central Park, NYC. We had a lot of fun and helped raise awareness and funding for the NDSS and its numerous programs.

If you are interested in other opportunities to get involved in the DS community, reach out to us or check out www.ndss.org.