January 2021
Mover and Shaker - Pam Vogle
Pam Vogle (center of bottom row) and part of her team at her going away party
As FACT moves forward into 2021, it is important to reflect back on where we have been and how we got there. This month marks the first month where Pam Vogle (formerly Clendenen) will not be writing this newsletter. In December 2020, Pam parted from FACT to move to South Carolina with her now husband Bill (they celebrated their beautiful wedding with family in October 2020).

My name is Tyler Williamson and as FACT's new Executive Director, I believe it is only fitting that the first Mover and Shaker I acknowledge is Pam. Pam is one of the original Movers and Shakers who helped build FACT from the ground up. Over the course of her 22 years as Camp Director and then Executive Director, Pam took a two week camp serving twenty children with autism and built a massive program providing year-round services to hundreds of families of individuals with autism in the Hampton Roads community. Over the course of her years with FACT, Pam did it all. Whether she was running camp, applying for grants, creating new programs, jumping old vans, playing with kids, meeting with donors, or training volunteers, Pam was always there with a smile on her face.

The FACT team and I look forward to continuing Pam's legacy by standing on the shoulders of such a giant in the nonprofit and autism community.
Donors & Granters - Creme

FACT relies heavily on donations from the public and other organizations (approximately 85% of our revenue each year comes from donations/grants). 2020 was a difficult year which saw dramatic shifts in the landscape of fundraising due to the pandemic. Online fundraising is more important than ever.

Although FACT does a large amount of its own fundraising, we are also reliant on the generosity of other organizations who fundraise on our behalf. This year one of our donors, Ralph Reynolds, connected us with Creme, a modern men's boutique carrying high-end streetwear, brand-name sneakers, and accessories. Creme utilized its strong social media presence to hold an online charitable giveaway where it sold $3 tickets for the chance to win three pairs of the new Air Jordan shoes. This inventive fundraiser ended up bringing in over $18,000 for FACT!

We at FACT are so grateful to Creme for choosing to support us. If you or someone you know has a business or organization that might like to raise money for FACT, contact us here, email us at info@camp4autism.com, or call us at 757-422-2040.
Gotta Love this Kid - Brian Williamson
For my first newsletter as Executive Director I wanted to provide some background on who I am and why I chose to leave my career as an attorney and become the next Executive Director of FACT. Luckily, when Pam created the template for these newsletters she gave me the perfect section: Gotta Love this Kid.

My brother Brian was diagnosed with autism when I was very young. I have no memory of a time in my life where I was not the older brother of a sibling with autism. Growing up with Brian wasn't always easy. He is minimally vocal and was a mischievous child with a tendency for running away to jump in one of the neighbors' pools, clogging up toilets with my dinosaur toys, or climbing cabinets at our grandmother's house to steal Pop-Tarts. He may have been a handful but we have always been very close. Brian instilled in me a love and passion for working with individuals with intellectual disabilities. I began volunteering with Special Olympics and joined my first nonprofit board when I was 15 and have never looked back.

Brian was one of the very first kids with autism to participate in Camp Gonnawannagoagin' and has been going regularly for the last 20+ years. Knowing how much Brian loved Camp and how beneficial it was to him, I started working at Camp as a counselor when I was in college. Working at Camp was one of the best experiences of my life. I loved the mission, the people, the culture, the fun activities, and most importantly the kids. When I was interviewing for legal jobs years later the question of “What is Camp Gonnawannagoagin'?” would often come up. No matter who I was interviewing with my answer was always the same, “it was the best job I will ever have.”

My love for my brother and the amazing community he helped me become a part of is what motivated me to become the next Executive Director of FACT and I could not be more excited about the opportunity.

Upcoming Events

Although registration is closed, limited space is still available for some of our winter programs. Call us at 757-422-2040 if you are interested in signing up.

Sports Programs:
Bowling - Sun., Jan. 3rd to Feb. 21st, eight weeks at Pinboy's Bowling on Laskin Rd. at Hilltop. Sessions offered at 1:00 p.m. and 3:00 p.m.
Basketball - Sat., Jan. 9th to Feb. 27th, eight weeks at Friends School gym. Sessions offered at 9:15 a.m. and 10:45 a.m.

Leisure Programs:
Karaoke Club - Wed. Jan. 6th to Feb. 14th, eight weeks at Friends School gym from 6:00-7:30 p.m.

We at FACT are monitoring the ongoing situation with regards to COVID-19. We have implemented health screenings, temperature checks, invested in sanitizing equipment, limited group sizes, required staff to wear masks, and modified instruction to facilitate proper social distancing. We appreciate your ability to remain adaptive and flexible with us during this uncertain time. We will keep you apprised of any changes in our programming via social media and email.

Autism Research Opportunity

The May Institute is conducting research for the Department of Defense with Tricare families comparing the effectiveness of different ABA strategies. Check out the flyer below to see if you or someone you know may qualify for the study and be interested in participating.