The Power of Community Partnership & Camp Clean-Up Days
As a 100% employee-owned company that’s all about building and growing meaningful relationships, Sebago Technics well-knows the meaning of a community partnership. And since 1994, they have been a dedicated partner and advocate for Camp Susan Curtis.
This partnership has taken many different forms over the last few decades, from meaningful financial contributions to impactful gifts of service. And for the past three years, Sebago Technics has supported Camp Susan Curtis with a very special Camp Clean-Up Day.
At the beginning of the summer, a group of volunteers from Sebago Technics makes the drive from their office in South Portland all the way up to camp in Stoneham. Throughout the course of the day, volunteers make sure everything at camp is ready to welcome campers back at the end of June. Among many other things, they clear brush, sweep cabins, tend gardens, patch roofs, fix leaning stairs, and build new picnic tables.
“New employees hear about it long before the day actually comes around,” said Sebago President & CEO Mark Adams. “Camp stories are regaled at Sebago! But most importantly, everyone here understands what Camp Susan Curtis does and how this day of effort benefits the organization and the kids it serves. It doesn’t matter how much we sweat or how many bugs we fend off, it’s all for the greater good.”
Sebago’s Camp Clean-Up Days are certainly important for a very practical reason: they make sure that everything at camp is renewed, refreshed, and ready to welcome the first group of campers at the end of June. But even more than that, Sebago’s annual volunteer day represents the remarkable impact that a meaningful partnership and a lot of generosity can have.
As both Mark and Kylie emphasize, the Camp Clean-Up Days are more than just a way for their company to give back – although that’s certainly no small factor. But this volunteer effort is also an opportunity for employees to build a sense of community and connect around a meaningful mission.
“I remember one summer when Mark was dubbed the Chief Shingle Slinging Officer. I know his back was burning, but he was still chucking shingles across the cabin roof. And that was a moment of symbolism and teambuilding. It spread through our entire company and helped everyone realize what it meant to contribute to Camp Susan Curtis,” said Kylie Mason, Chief Operations Officer at Sebago and Camp Susan Curtis Boad Chair. “Because now they’ve been there, and when we talk about camp, they can picture it in their mind. They can see the campers’ drawings and art projects. There’s a connection. And there’s something pretty powerful and magical about that.”
For Camp Susan Curtis, the full impact of Sebago’s Camp Clean-Up Days is felt as soon as the first group of campers arrive. Both new and returning campers are welcomed by cozy, clean cabins, beautiful campgrounds where they can have fun safely, and sturdy picnic tables where they can take a rest and share a snack with new friends.
For Kylie, the reality of this impact hits close to home. “Every time we’re at camp, I’m reminded of the sweetness of being that age and only having to worry about things like making it to the lake in time for free swim. I didn’t realize when I attended summer camp as a child that I was there on a scholarship. But now it’s a pretty cool thing to realize that someone made that experience happen for me. We can call it a “pay it forward” or a “pay it back”, but I like to just think of it as the thing we all do to make sure every kid experiences that kind of sweetness during what should be a very innocent time of life.”
As the partnership between Sebago Technics and Camp Susan Curtis approaches 30 years, both Mark and Kylie are thankful that Sebago can have a hands-on influence on bettering the lives of campers.
“Actually, our new tag at Sebago is ‘Shaping Together’, and our involvement with Camp Susan Curtis is one very material way that will hopefully, for a long time, help shape the benefits and opportunities that are provided to CSC campers,” said Mark. “We’re so proud to be engaged with camp in this way and to be able to be a part of that impact for Maine kids.”
“Something I learned from camp this year is one, to be more mature so I can be the best role model possible for younger campers. Another thing I learned was to use my voice more and to be less shy, this will help me in the future by being able to speak up not only for myself but for my friends and people who need someone to speak up for them.”
- CAMPER EMILY