November 2012 - Courage Center Camps of Golden Valley and Friendship Ventures of Annandale are partnering to create a new camp organization to serve people with disabilities, effective November 19, 2012. This collaboration brings together two of Minnesota's largest and most dynamic camp providers in the disability community.
Recognizing that camp programs continue to provide strong benefits, both organizations share the goal of preserving and enhancing the camp experience for children and adults with disabilities. A lengthy study process revealed the entities could offer innovative camp programs and serve more families by combining strengths, methods and assets.
Friendship Ventures and Courage Center Camps have rich histories of providing exceptional and much-needed services. Camp Courage was established in 1955 to serve individuals with physical disabilities. Friendship Ventures was established in 1964, serving participants with developmental disabilities and special needs. Between the two organizations, there are five lakeside camps in Minnesota.
The new organization will be called "Camps of Courage and Friendship" until a formal name study is completed. It will be governed by a volunteer board of 12, with equal representation from Courage Center and Friendship Ventures. In 2013, campers, volunteers and staff will see traditional programs continue. Behind the scenes, new methods and approaches will be developed to incorporate the strengths of both organizations.
This exciting partnership enhances programs to the nearly 4,000 people currently served by Friendship Ventures and Courage Center Camps. It also expands positive outcome options to the larger disability community. Leaders are confident the partnership will create one of the most dynamic and comprehensive special needs camp programs in the upper Midwest.