August 2020
FACT's collaboration with the YMCA at JT's Camp Grom
means non-stop fun for kids with autism.
Check out this video of camper Brady and his staff Nicholas. Contrary to what they may sound like, these are shrieks of delight, not terror.
Donors and Grantors
The Chesapeake Bay Wine Classic Foundation
It has always been FACT's goal to have our own facility to host our many programs and continue to expand our services. Until then, we're fortunate to have wonderful partners like the Friends School in Virginia Beach and the YMCA at Camp Grom where we can teach individuals with autism new social and communication skills through engaging leisure activities, sports, and day camps. However, there are significant expenses associated with utilizing spaces that belong to other organizations, not the least of which is rent. This is where the generosity and hard work of the Chesapeake Bay Wine Clasic Foundation comes into play.
The Executive Director Jenny Capps, President Dave Jester, and the entire Board are on a mission to help provide opportunities for underprivileged youth in our community to obtain the education and skills they need to secure a better life for themselves and their families. This year, more than ever, we need compassionate benefactors like the CBWCF to help us help individuals with autism and their families. We are truly grateful for their remarkable grant to secure facilities for our programs.
The CBWCF hosts numerous fundraising events throughout the year including the Grand Auction,The Wine Jam musical event, several special dining events and the Wine, Women and Charity Fishing tournament. To learn more about the foundation and their events please click here for more info about tickets or sponsoring events.
Movers and Shakers
I humbly name myself this month's Mover and Shaker- Pam Clendenen
In case you didn't know it, I write the monthly newsletters. In very small organizations, like FACT, the Executive Director often wears many hats. It makes the job more challenging, but also more fun! At any rate, I just couldn't see writing about myself in the third person and since I am the director, these are the kind of decisions I can make. This is a photo of me (in the blue glasses) and some of my favorite people in the world, my staff, at our 2018 Brew Bus fundraiser.
From top left: Sheri Bragg, Jahleel Gardner, Lauren Cook, Pam Clendenen, Jessie Pitts, Pam Gray, bottom left: Rachel White, Kadijah Jones
It is people like these, and times like these, that make it even more difficult for me to announce my departure from FACT after 23 years. It has been a great privilege to work with our board, staff, and especially the families we serve. I am so proud of our growth and ability to serve individuals with autism in so many meaningful ways.
I leave FACT in the very capable hands of Tyler Williamson. Tyler is the son of founding members of our board, a devoted brother of a young man with autism, and a former Camp Gonnwannagoagin' counselor. He currently sits on the FACT board, the disAbility Law Center board and coaches with Chesapeake special olympics. Tyler leaves his career as a lawyer for more fulfilling work in the non-profit sector. I feel confident the he and our program director, Sheri Bragg, will continue the traditions and positive culture we've developed and nurtured over many years and find innovative new ways to serve the autism community.
FACT Fondly Remembers Don Damuth
FACT was saddened to hear of the passing of our friend and benefactor, Don Damuth in July. This February marked the 50th anniversary of Damuth Trane, a premier professional energy services company based in Chesapeake.
Don Damuth, the company’s founder, joined Trane in 1961 after serving in the Marine Corps in Okinawa, Japan. He purchased the local Trane commercial franchise in 1970. Over five decades, the company grew from nine original employees to a team of 212 that occupies a 50,000 square foot facility and three parts stores. Don's eldest son, Clint Damuth, became President/General Manager in 2003 after more than 15 years in the business.
Besides being a vastly successful businessman, Don was a much beloved husband, father, and grandfather. Don was a philanthropist and a generous donor to FACT for over a decade.

Don with his sons Phil and Clint

Don's grandaughter, Lauren, attended our camp since she was in elementary school. Today, she is a vivacious, talented young woman employed by FACT as our camp photographer. The Damuth family is in the forefront of our thoughts and prayers.
Gotta Love this Kid- Kyle Owens
At Camp Gonnwannagoagin' we love all our campers and appreciate their unique personalities, but some have become a party of our DNA and it simply wouldn't be the same without them. At twenty-six, Kyle Owens is a gentle giant who loves swimming, baseball, horses and cowboys. He began attending camp twenty years ago when he was just six years old, making him the longest continually attending camper we have. His sister Laurel was ten at the time and she began as a volunteer.
Over the years we've come to know and love the entire family. Mom, Becky, was a special education art teacher. Dad, Gary, brought challenger league baseball to Norfolk twenty years ago and still coordinates the league today. Kyle's awesome sister, Laurel was a remarkable volunteer and camp staff member until she graduated college. Today Laurel supervises Young Life and Capernaum camps in Oregon. But as great as his family is, Kyle is the star of the show and a superstar at camp.