When Tanglewood 4-H Camp and Learning Center acquired Blueberry Cove Camp in 2005, beginning the process of reviving a proud seaside camp so that it joined UMaine’s 4-H learning community, there was no way to predict all the unusual gifts. In this year alone energy from generous donors, volunteers, alumni and Tanglewood staff have moved the transformation of Blueberry Cove Camp (BBC) closer than anyone imagined last year. A farsighted and generous donor provided for the hiring of a full time Director and facility funds to restart BBC’s residential camp program. Jon Downing, his wife, Shelby, and their children Emma and Evan arrived during mud season to roll up their sleeves and set up housekeeping in quarters mostly used by wildlife of all sizes and species.
Their commitment to creating an educational climate focused on sustainable living became clear as they quickly moved in chickens and staked pigmy goats to “mow” the field. Jon comes to Tanglewood with a diverse background in group outfitting and program management. Charged with creating a day camp that combined the best of BBC’s and Tanglewood’s nature based discovery programming, Jon delivered. Some parents cancelled other reservations and summer plans just to keep their children at BBC all summer. (“Pirate Day” was awesome!) Jon’s work to make sure that all campers had the “time of their lives” was at the heart of another successful BBC summer camp season.
Jon was joined by a dedicated corps of volunteers. Thanks to the tireless efforts of Felix Kloman and the St. George Sailing Foundation, funds were raised to purchase a dock and float system that defied almost all but the lowest tides.
Trades trainees from Maine’s Department of Corrections Bolduc Center, cleared land, milled timber into lumber, renovated and moved cabins (in the snow!) and triumphed over mud to create a parking lot that accommodates both BBC campers and sailors from the foundation.
Scott Yakovenko again donated his culinary arts for a well attended August fundraiser and silent auction supported by Board donations.
Anne Goldsmith (BBC’s previous owner) organized alumni from around the world for a reunion that resulted in song, fellowship, lots of ocean time, and an alumni’s challenge grant donation directed toward a new septic system.
Area Master Gardeners created raised beds for BBC’s gigantic organic garden. Rockland’s Youthlinks students spruced up the art building with a colorful mural. Employees from Lonza’s Rockland plant painted and repaired residential cabins for next season. The Cartwright family (Steve and Paul helped by son Owen) gave countless hours to docks and grounds. (Whew!) Tanglewood is enormously grateful to its volunteers.