Help PALS reach 1,000 Likes!

The PALS Facebook page has been growing steadily since we created it years ago. We currently have a whopping 900+ Likes, but as always at PALS, we’re setting our sights higher: Let’s get 1,000 Likes!

Our Facebook page is one of our key drivers of awareness, recruitment, and fundraising. The more people like the page, the more people learn about PALS and what we’re up to.

To reach 1,000 Likes, we need your help. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Like our page yourself, if you haven’t already
  2. Update your status to tell people about the page
  3. Jump up and down on your rooftop holding a PALS sign

If we reach 1,000 Likes by June, our fearless executive director has agreed to record herself singing a song of your choosing (there will be a vote).

– Jason, on behalf of the PALS Board

Upcoming family fun!

The Dorothea Dix Unitarian Universalist Community is holding its 2nd annual “Celebration of Abilities” Family Fun Day! This Family Fun Day is a celebration of friendship, inclusion and ability awareness. Festivities will include face painting, sand art, fun with science, refreshments and entertainment. The day will conclude with a concert by Chris Burke (Corky, from “Life Goes On”) with Joe and John DeMasi!

Saturday, May 11 (12:00–4:00)

39 Park Street, Bordentown, NJ 08505

Adults: $10; Under 16: free

For more information, please call 609-581-2651


This Sunday: PALS Fit inaugural event!

This Sunday at 10:30 AM we’re kicking off the first-ever PALS Fit (Friends In Training) event, and we want you to join us! The event is a 3K run/walk, and will be held near the University of Maryland, College Park campus. PALS Fit is a fitness-oriented program, and a great way to reconnect with PALS friends and maybe make a new training buddy!

It’s not too late to sign up for Sunday’s event. See you there!

Looking for PALS Medical Team!

PALS is looking for physicians and nurses to serve at all five of our locations this summer: Philadelphia, San Francisco, Chicago, Georgetown and Princeton! Our medical team at each program reviews medical history forms, distributes medication, and joins us throughout the week to keep our campers and counselors healthy and safe. We’d love to have your help!

If you are interested in volunteering with us this summer, of if you know someone who would fit the bill, please email us at

Announcing PALS Fit!

We’re excited to be launching a new program this April: PALS Fit (Friends In Training) will provide opportunities for the local community to join PALS in taking on fitness challenges by partnering with individuals with Down syndrome.

The first ever PALS Fit event will be a 3K Fun Run, held near the University of Maryland, College Park on April 28. It will be an awesome reunion for old and new PALS friends as well as anyone else who wants to join in on the fun.

PALS Fit was started by Noam Schildhaus, a four-time counselor in the PALS family. Noam is leading a group of University of Maryland students as part of a Public Leadership Program. The students plan to make this PALS Fit Fun Run an annual event that can be used as a model at universities across the country.

We hope that PALS Fit will bring the community together and will be the first of many wellness initiatives in the PALS family. 

So sign up today for our 3K! Registration is $25/person and includes a t-shirt. We encourage people to do additional fundraising to win some cool prizes. Contact us at if you’re interested and with any questions!


It's "Spread the Word" day

Hi PALS Family!

We hope this message finds you well. Tomorrow, March 6, is the fifth annual Spread the Word to End the Word day, and we are more excited than Ryan Herrington at a dance party to get your help in making it our biggest yet. Want to help us raise awareness about the social challenges facing our friends with Down syndrome? Want to make the world a more accepting and inclusive place? Here are a few easy ways to start:

  1. Help us reach your network: Use the Spread the Word badge below as your Facebook profile picture. Don’t worry, you can change it back to that presh selfie after Wednesday. Also, help us by sharing articles and videos about the event with your Facebook friends.
  2. Add your voice to ours: What’s your reason for making the world a more inclusive place? Whether it’s your PALS friend, a family member, a PALS experience or something else, let people know.
  3. Take the pledge: Visit us at and take the pledge yourself. Then encourage your friends to do it.
  4. Get some inspiration from Ryan Herrington, who is speaking out about the R-word in his community, or the incredible self-advocates, John and Sam.

Every summer we talk about PALS having the highest “goodness quotient” in the world. Join us in leveraging that goodness to continue to change the world!

Peace, Love, PALS
Soeren and Timbo
Founders, Spread the Word to End the Word
Commissioners Emeriti, PALS ThunderDome

New PALS Adventures coming up!

We’re excited to announce that there are two PALS Adventures coming up!

On Saturday, March 9, Daytime Moon Creations will be hosting us in New York City at the Peoples Improv Theater. This Adventure will include an afternoon of theater and improv activities. For more details, and to sign up for this Adventure, please complete this form as soon as possible!

On Saturday, April 6, Young Chefs Academy will be hosting us in Morganville, NJ. This Adventure will include an evening of supervised (delicious) cooking activities. For more details, and to sign up for this Adventure, please complete this form as soon as possible!

Each Adventure costs $25 per person. PALS Programs staff and campers are encouraged to apply early, as spots will fill up quickly. Questions or concerns? Please e-mail

REMINDER: There are still spots for the February 16 Dance Party Adventure in Galloway, NJ. For details about this program, and to sign up, click here!

Coming up: PALS Adventures dance party!

Our first two PALS Adventures last November were hugely successful (we went bowling!). Now mark your calendars because we’ve got another adventure coming right up: On Saturday, February 16 veteran counselor Laura Grow is reuniting the PALS community for a dance party in Galloway, NJ, so put on your dancing shoes (or sneakers) and prepare for an afternoon of fun!

The party will cost $10 and is open to all PALS alumni. If you’re interested in attending—as a camper, counselor, or support staff—you can sign up here. Spots are limited, so sign up now! If you have any questions, you can write to us at and we’ll get back to you as soon as possible.

We can’t wait to see you!

Executive Board Update Part IV: Announcement of 2013 Programs!

This is the fourth and final in our series of blog posts sharing some of the discussions and decisions that came from our October Board & Directors Meeting in NYC.

The time is finally here! We are so excited in this last post to announce the PALS Programs schedule for the summer of 2013. With three new programs, we plan to reach more campers, counselors and communities than ever before!

Drum role please…

This year Camp PALS will be held in the following locations:

Princeton University in Central New Jersey
Cabrini College outside of Philadelphia, PA
Georgetown University in Washington, DC
Notre dame de Namur University in San Francisco, CA
Elmhurst College outside of Chicago, IL

Check out the official details

As is PALS tradition, all camper applications will go live at 12:01am on January 1, 2013. Counselor applications are now available here! In the coming weeks, we will be posting additional details about each program and its team of directors.

The summer of 2013 will be the largest summer in the history of PALS. We hope you will join us!

- Jenni, on behalf of the Executive Board and the 2013 Program Directors

(As you can see, our bags are packed and we’re ready for the best summer yet!!)

PALS sets $100K fundraising goal

Dear PALS Family,

Last year, the PALS community came together and raised over $75,000 from 398 unique donors. This year, we’ve set our most ambitious goal yet—$100,000—to support the addition of multiple new programs, offer financial aid for everyone who needs it, and ensure the long-term sustainability of PALS.

The only way we’ll reach this goal is with your help. We need everyone—campers, counselors, parents, and friends—to come together to make this happen. Here’s what to do:

  • Set up a personalized fundraising page
  • Tell all your friends: classmates and teachers, co-workers and bosses, coaches and teammates, aunts, uncles, next-door neighbors, and anyone you find next to you during the holidays. Talk to them about what PALS means to you and let them know that every single dollar donated will make a difference to someone you know.

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

~ Jason, on behalf of the PALS Executive Board

Announcing the First PALS Adventures!

For those of you who haven’t heard yet, we’re kicking off a new program called PALS Adventures! We’ve already set the first two Adventures for Saturday, December 15th—one in Howard County, MD (led by me, Laura Karp), and another in Bucks County, PA (led by the awesome Shane Kensil). Mark your calendars!

Both Adventures will reunite campers and counselors for two hours of bowling, as well as a delicious pizza meal! The cost for each event is $25, which includes bowling shoes, lane time, and dinner.

If you are interested in attending either of these events as either a camper or counselor, please sign up below. Spots are limited, so sign up now! Once your spot is reserved, you’ll receive a confirmation email with more details. If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to write to me at

Sign up for the PALS Adventure in Howard County, MD (led by Laura Karp:

Sign up for the PALS Adventure in Bucks County, PA (led by Shane Kensil:

I can’t wait for PALS Adventures to begin. Hope to see you soon!

~ Laura

PALS welcomes a new assistant director!

Last summer we brought the magic of Camp PALS to the west coast. James and Kate, Directors of Camp PALS San Francisco, are delighted to introduce a new member of our team: Assistant Director Sara Glass! Sara has been part of the Camp PALS family since 2010. She is currently living in Canada attending the University of Toronto. In her free time, she likes watching videos of cute animals, eating ice cream, and laughing an unnecessary amount. Sara is beyond excited to be working alongside Kate and James!

As one of our universally loved returning counselors, Sara will be an instrumental part of the Camp PALS San Francisco leadership team in 2013. We couldn’t be more excited to have her onboard—please join us in welcoming her to the team!

~ James and Kate, directors, Camp PALS San Francisco

Update on PALS Tours

As many of you know, PALS Tours was launched in 2011 to serve individuals with Down syndrome ages 21-35 during extended weekend programming that focused on life skills through partnerships.  Jenna Aidikoff and Brian Atlas, co-founders of PALS Tours, have recently decided to branch off from PALS and build their own independent organization. We are grateful to Jenna and Brian for their leadership in PALS and we plan to work closely with them as both organizations continue to grow.  We wish them the very best of luck in this new endeavor! Feel free to contact them at or

As we prepare for this transition, we want you to know that we are fully committed to serving each and every member of the PALS family and more as we grow in the summer of 2013. We are very excited to be accomplishing this in two ways:

1. Expanding PALS In New Cities: The summer of 2013 is going to be full of new programs! Last year, we launched Camp PALS West for individuals ages 16-25. In August, we announced Camp PALS Chicago for individuals ages 14-21. We plan to announce at least one more new program coming to the Northeast that will serve individuals ages 18-25 next summer.

2. Celebrating PALS Year-Round: As we proudly announced in our recent blog post, we are prioritizing and making strong efforts to grow through year-round reunions. These fun-filled reunions will be held in regions around the country and will engage all past PALS participants and counselors of any age. This will include extended programming and more opportunities for one-on-one relationship building. (A complete announcement will be released later this week!)

As PALS moves forward, we are excited to develop new programs for individuals with Down syndrome and their peers of all ages. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact me.

Counting down the days until summer,

Jenni, on behalf of the PALS Executive Board

Introducing our new Executive Director

Over the years, one of the ideas that has come up again and again is to hire a full-time Executive Director to look after day to day operations, act as the organization’s main spokesperson, oversee directors of our (growing list of) programs, and plan for PALS’ long term future. Time and time again, when this idea has come up, we’ve all agreed that it would only make sense to have such a role if we could find the perfect person for the job.  Well, I’m very excited to announce that we’ve found that person.

It’s with great excitement that I announce that, starting next month, Jenni Newbury will officially take the helm of PALS as its first Executive Director. As co-founder of PALS and director of Camp PALS East for the past 9 years, Jenni has demonstrated year-round dedication and has been instrumental to the success of PALS programming. In addition to her successes at PALS, she graduated from Princeton University, was the keynote speaker at the 2011 National Down Syndrome Conference and has worked for over 2 years at the Special Olympics headquarters in DC. She also is a wonderful sister and friend to Jason Newbury. There is simply no one more perfect for the role!


As Executive Director Jenni will be responsible for a number of areas, including:
  • Working with the Executive Board to approve and support all program proposals
  • Managing a master database of all campers/participants and counselors/mentors
  • Communicating with all parent/guardians around processes regarding financial aid, tuition and health
  • Meeting with program directors to review budget, programming, and conduct program evaluation
  • Working to secure cross-program opportunities for fundraising, discounts, donations and partnerships
  • Writing and submitting grants to continue to build the PALS infrastructure
  • Being present at programs to provide support, insight, and feedback to directors

We couldn’t be more excited for Jenni to take on this role. Her presence will empower PALS to improve and grow like never before, bringing new experiences, independent living, and lasting friendships to young adults with Down Syndrome and their peers across the country.

Please help me to congratulate Jenni in her new role by emailing her at

Jason on behalf of the Executive Board