Camp Courage a part of True Friends


     Nearly a year ago, Courage Center Camps and Friendship Ventures partnered together to become the largest camp organization to serve people with disabilities in the country. Now, the partnership – which includes Camp Courage, in Maple Lake, and Camp Friendship, in Annandale – will continue under the parent company True Friends.
     “True Friends embodies everything we’re about,” True Friends President and CEO Ed Stracke said. “When we think about how we impact people’s lives, we have to look at relationships. We asked a number of people, ‘When you hear true friends, what does that mean?’ Someone said, ‘Friends are good, but true friends are better.’”
     Stracke said many people with disabilities don’t have a wide circle of friends. 
But, at camp, things are different.
     He told a story of two women who met at camp more than 40 years ago and are not only still friends but also neighbors.
      Other disabled individuals Stracke knows have gone through school without being invited to a single birthday party. “Their friends were at camp,” Stracke said. “One was in a staff member’s wedding. I could tell you hundreds of stories like that.”
     True Friends’ logo features three connected individuals, including a central figure in a wheelchair. Blue and green are included in the logo to represent the lakes and trees of the camps. The two figures on either side represent the two organizations coming together to support people with disabilities.
     “The organization is about helping and serving people,” Stracke said.
     When Courage Center Camps and Friendship Ventures began talking about a partnership in 2010, it did not take long to determine they had a similar mission. The mission of True Friends is to “provide life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities.”
     “Everything we do is based on that mission,” Stracke said. 
More information appears in this week's Messenger.