Friday, November 21, 2014

Visions of Popcorn Popping in Their Heads

Making popcorn is almost a daily event in the Piantine household. Tony loves popcorn and, for most of his life, has dreamed about having a popcorn business.  Over the years, as the dream remained a dream, it kind of became a joke between friends and family. It was just a fun idea and one of Tony’s many dreams.

Last Christmas, the Piantines thought it would make great Christmas gifts to make and package their own popcorn. They made their own labels and had fun putting together the gifts boxes.  A handful of select friends and family received the Piantine popcorn, slightly satisfying the popcorn dream.

A couple weeks later, the dream began to pop some more. Tony received a phone call from Diane, mother of one of our campers, Drew. She shared that she owned a popcorn business in Green Bay called Heart@Work.  She developed the business as a means to give her son who has Down Syndrome, and other adults with disabilities, purposeful employment.  They would make, package and label several varieties of popcorn, vending to corporate buyers as well as providing popcorn buffets for weddings and banquets.

Much to Tony’s surprise, the owner asked if Camp Daniel would like to partner with business! Wow! Could this be a dream come true?

Tony, Karol, & Trish (our kitchen manager) spent a day making popcorn with Heart@Work, learning all about the business first hand. They excitedly agreed to partner with the business.   The future plan is to produce the popcorn here at camp after our commercial kitchen is built.  We would continue the partnership and the mission of Heart@Work by providing purposeful employment for people with disabilities, as well as providing a means for Camp Daniel to support itself.  This gives us another reason to complete the Camp Daniel grounds and get our kitchen up and running!

Currently, Trish goes weekly to Green Bay, along with other Camp Daniel staff and campers to help with this year’s orders and learn the business. This past Thursday Channel 5 of Green Bay aired a segment on the business! Check out the video clip below!

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Give the gift of popcorn!

Uniquely Wisconsin: Heart @ Work - Green Bay Fox Cities News Weather Sports

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Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Women's Retreat

This past weekend, Camp Daniel held its first women’s retreat! The theme was Beautiful Things, with speaker Becky Bazett-Jones and worship leaders Jill Kocian and Molly McMurry.  Camp Daniel’s intern, Betty Miller, fantastically put on this retreat, with the help of other Camp Daniel staff. We had 10 campers and 5 counselors attend. Great size for our first retreat and for closer intimacy. It was an exciting time for our staff as we got to see the barn utilized for a camp function for the first time!
Activities included crafts, games, spa, tea luncheon, fashion show, chapel times, movie night, and bon fire. During the spa, ladies received hand massages, manicures, facials, and a chance to pick out a dress and hat to wear for the lovely tea luncheon. The guys of Camp Daniel served the ladies soup, sandwiches, tea & dessert. Following the lunch, the ladies had a chance to show off their beauty by dancing down a runway to fun music.

The chapel sessions where filled with messages about how God has made us beautiful. This message was vitally important to the ladies who attended since so much of the world tells us we need to look a certain way in order to be beautiful. The majority of gals with disabilities have an extra hard time measuring up to those standards. Being affirmed of and encouraged to find our beauty, inside and out, is a message all women need to hear and even more important within the disability community.  Thank you Becky for your words of truth and encouragement!

Friday, November 14, 2014

House Swap

The big move happened at the beginning of October.  Marceaux, Jen & MJ packed their things and moved from the Brunot House back onto the Camp Daniel grounds into the Chicagami House, where Molly & Trish lived. At the same time, Molly, Trish, and our new intern, Betty, moved into the Brunot House.  Jake also moved from the Brunot House onto the Camp Daniel grounds into the Hartley House, with the rest of the guys. He took Justin’s room as he moved into an apartment in Green Bay.

Though the move was a lot of work and required change, it has been good for everyone.  Having the Burys move back to camp has allowed Marceaux to be closer for maintenance of things needing repair. The move allowed Jen to be connected more and be apart of things even when MJ is home napping. MJ loves playing on the carpet ball tables, the swing set, and going to the garage with daddy.

Having the girls move to the Brunot House has allowed space for Betty to move in. It has also opened up space for potentially two female residents.

The moved required a bit of sacrifice and willingness for change.  It is easy to get comfortable, sentimental, and possessive when it comes to living spaces and stuff. Moving brings a lot of those emotions to the forefront, especially the more people that are involved. The Burys had to downsize, the girls had to move off the grounds, and things had to change from what got comfortable.

Things like this remind us what we are here for and that we truly are missionaries, living in community. One may wonder what real sacrifices we have to make living here in the United States. We don’t have to give up plumbing, electricity or fast food. However, we regularly need to put our personal desires and comforts aside for the good of the group and the moving forward of the vision set before us. Had one person not been willing to move, change would have been halted.  There would not have been room for Betty. There would not be room to add female residents and expand our group home options.  The Burys would not have gained the connection they need during this time of their lives while raising a child.

We are grateful that we live in a community that is willing to sacrifice and except change in order to further the vision God has given us and care for each other's needs. 

Monday, October 27, 2014

Fall Work Days

 October 11 and 18 were the last two work days for the year.  We were blessed with great weather and even better helper both days.  The above photo is the wellness center in the new building.  It was drywalled, taped and the first coat of plaster was applied.
 On the 11th, a group from First Reformed Church, of Sheboygan falls made the trip up for the work day.  They worked in the barn and in the old garage.  In the photo above, the guys were getting started on closing in the one backstage room that connects to the current tool room.  The area needed to be insulated and drywalled so that the area and it’s annex, can be heated this winter.  By the end of the day, they had all the drywall up.  Since then, Nick and the guys taped and mudded the room. Trish, and Betty painted it.  And Tony and Stevo put up shelving.  It’s all ready for cold weather!
The weather for the work days was nice enough to get some things done outside.  In the photo above, some guys are working with Richard to finish the retaining wall that was started by a youth group this summer.  In the pic below, Ron and Don are digging in fence posts along the edge of the barn’s property.

Tony found two windows at Habitat for Humanity that were a perfect fit for the two backstage windows in the barn.  It took 3 scaffolds of height to reach the window!
The group from The Able Church came up on the 18th for their annual fall leaf raking at Camp Daniel.  A group also went to the Brunot house to split firewood from trees that had fallen earlier this year.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Camp Daniel Booster Club Fall Picnic

 Saturday, Sept 27 was the annual Camp Daniel fall picnic.  This year it was put on by the Booster Club.  Of course, we had to keep the food the same because the chili and fix in’s are tradition at this point!  The Booster Club was raising money to “Pour the Floor” (the concrete for the basement level of the maintenance/chapel building)  Since in years past this function wasn’t a fundraiser, they didn’t want to have a high pressure fundraiser, so in keeping with that and the fun picnic atmosphere, they did a 50/50 raffle.  Above, Becky, who is the head of the Booster Club, and Betty, also part of the Booster Club and new CD intern are showing us the excitement of the  raffle.
 Amongst other volunteers and donors, all of the campers and counselors from this year were invited to the picnic.  We were happy to see Sherry (above) and Kenny and Al (below) come out for the beautiful day we had for the picnic.
 The Weidner family drove up from Oostburg for the event.  We are blessed to have this family as part of the Camp Daniel family.

Monday, September 22, 2014

Lots Done in a Short Time: Camp Daniel Style

So, we haven’t blogged in quite some time.  We, at Camp Daniel, have been so busy working on the grounds in preparations for a wedding that was held here on Saturday.  When we finished our camp season, which feels like 6 months ago, but, the barn had insulation on the walls and rough electric.  We have been working hard since then to get as much done as possible.  We had two very successful workdays in September.  Thanks again, to everyone who participated in the work days.  Each day we had a crew on exterior staining.  We had a fast crew both weeks and they got almost all the exterior staining done.
 On the second workday, they also sanded and painted all 32 of our outdoor benches.  The wedding was held by the lake and the freshly painted benches looked great.
 During the work days, and most every day between, Tony and Marceaux worked on electric.  Here, Tony is installing a light fixture that we made from a rusty trough from a barn.  It has 5 bare old fashioned bulbs hanging from it.  The fixture is partially recessed into the ceiling.  They also wired dozens of outlets and switches.
 The guys insulated the ceiling of the barn, and during the work days, volunteers insulated the rest of the ceiling in the 55'x96’ building.   Let me tell you....that’s ALOT of insulation.
 Then it was time to drywall.  Nick, Steve and the guys did the barn ceiling.  It took multiple days to get all that up.  During the first work day, the walls were drywalled and all of it was taped.  During the follow day or two, we mudded all the joints and screw heads.  Finally, Molly, Trish and Karol were able to paint the walls with a tinted primer.  All of this work we knew, was to be covered with salvaged barn pieces, but we needed to meet fire codes.
 Tony got started on some of the details of the barn.  Here, he’s adding giant beams that will create a hayloft for the barn.
 We installed 14’ beams on the ceiling to give the barn a post and beam look; then it was time to start installing the tin panels that we salvaged from the roof of a barn this spring.  Rusty side down, of course.  By putting in many long hours, we were able to finish the ceiling in just two days.
 Although the exterior of the building wouldn’t be finished, we worked on landscaping for the wedding.  The parents of the groom donated money for the sod, which looked great.  Oh, I almost forgot, we formed and poured a concrete sidewalk too.
 Once the ceiling was done, we started putting barn boards on the walls.  The side walls have regular barn boards, but the wall by the stage area is covered in the white painted boards. We worked up until the last minute with the details.  We even took time to put up some decorations.
 This was what it looked like for the reception.
 Where Jesse and Cera’s name is, will be a projection screen, but for this event we made it special by painting it just for the wedding.
The ceremony was by the lake.  The 135 people in attendance all had a good view of the beautiful bride and her groom.  The wedding was great, and we were blessed to be a part of this special couple’s happy day.

The next day we napped............

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Some new things you may have missed at Camp 2014

 Since many of you were not at camp this year, I thought I’d do a blog on some of the new things implemented at camp this year.  Following the trends, as we do at Camp Daniel, we put up a photo booth two times each week.  One on pirate day, and one before French night.  Everyone had fun taking selfies with the props.
 We had two new theme meals this summer.  In the pic above, you see Stevo Hays supporting the Blue Team during the Red/Blue Pep Rally.  This meal replaced the football tailgating theme.  The dining room was decked out in red and blue, as were most everyone there.  The camp was introduced to the summer interns who led their teams in chants and cheers.
 Our second new theme was British Breakfast.  I know you are asking yourself, “How did they get the Queen Mum to go to Wausaukee?”  She was awesome.   In the photo below, you can see the honorary Prince and Princess of Spatula (complete with crowns) being served at the royal table by Chef Trish.
 In a less formal change, we changed up the counselor snacks this year too.  Some of the items are the same, but everything was served “bar” style.  Below, you see the chocolate fountain bar.  We also had a nacho bar, sundae bar, potato skin bar, popcorn bar, veggie pizza bar,  and pretzel bar.  It was all a hit; but I’d like to thank the DiBiase’s for donating the chocolate fountain.  It gave a real “Aaah” factor on the first night.
 Our “Don’t Stop” theme had a car racing look, which was fun.  The photo here shows one of the most fun additions to camp this year; CSPN (Camp Daniel Sports Network) was taken to a whole new level.  Each day the CSPN desk would travel to the days group rec activity and the announcers, Steve and Nick would announce the game via a cordless sound system.  They even had sports themed background music.  They did a great job of commentary, which added a new layer to the activities.  In the photo below, CSPN was held in the chapel, where they were able to show video highlights from the previous days activities, and interview the athlete involved.  It was all quite entertaining, and the campers got a kick out of the focus on them.  (A microphone in hand is always a good thing too!)