True Friends Family of Services
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Winter Update 2016
"The things you are passionate about are not random, they are your calling."

Happy 2016! There are a lot of new and exciting things happening around True Friends and we're excited to share everything with you!

First, thank you for your contributions in 2015. We had a 6,000 hour increase in volunteer hours from 2014 in summer programming alone. Everyone at True Friends are so incredibly thankful to all of you for making our programs and fun happen.

Keep reading to learn more about what we've been up to and what we're planning for the year ahead!

In friendship,
Volunteer Services & Seasonal Recruitment department
New For You...
Department Changes
True Friends Volunteer Services has grown! We are now officially Volunteer Services & Seasonal Recruitment. This change means all of our resident camp staff recruitment and onboarding are now managed by the same people who have been overseeing volunteer & intern services (plus a new staff member).

Conor has expanded his role, and is still around to provide leadership. Amanda has been promoted to Manager (congrats!) and oversees daily operations. And we've hired a new member to our team!

Please welcome Maureen O'Connor, True Friends' new Volunteer Services & Seasonal Recruitment Coordinator!

Maureen joins us with previous camp experience and is looking forward to continuing her passion of connecting people with experiential outdoor opportunities. She loves getting outside, building new friendships, and creating adventures for everyone. Maureen offices at Camp Friendship year round and can be contacted by phone 952.697.2286 or email
Volunteer Opportunities...
2016 respite starts this weekend January 8-10 at Camp Friendship with the theme of Sports & Games. All 2016 respite weekends have a theme to provide more specific and fun programming for our weekend campers.

IMPORTANT NOTE: We've changed the age for new respite volunteers from 16 to 18 starting in 2016. If you have previous experience with True Friends, you can still volunteer with us if you're 16+. Sign up using the Volunteer Portal or contact Maureen .
Summer Camp 
We're added our summer 2016 dates to the Volunteer Portal! Start checking your schedules and signing up for the week(s) you're available to join us back at camp this summer. Reminder...
- Refer a friend to volunteer - and they successfully complete their commitment with True Friends, you are automatically entered into our semi-annual drawing for a tablet device. 
- Refer a friend who is hired as a staff member - and they successfully complete their commitment with True Friends and you receive $200 per person referred; terms apply.
Volunteer Spotlight: GVSU Alternative Break
GVSU Alternative Break volunteers
Eleven students from Grand Valley State University in Allendale, Michigan signed up for an Alternative Break service trip, bringing them across the Midwest to join in the craziness and excitement of Winter Camp at Camp Friendship January 2-7. Led by a fantastic student leader, these students walked through our doors and have been leaving us in awe ever since.

I had the privilege of chatting with a few members of the group as they prepared to head out on an afternoon bowling adventure with a group of campers, and the thoughtful comments I received sent warmth all the way to my chilly toes. From reflections on the nervous anticipation they arrived with to the immense impact each camper has had on their personal journeys in just a few short days; each moment they shared with me affirmed the purpose of our mission.

"I was totally nervous coming into the week, but being with these campers changes everything. This population has so much passion and love to share. I've learned the power of "yes". Saying "yes, you can do this or that activity" makes their day. We're giving them that opportunity."

We couldn't say it better ourselves. GVSU students: thank you. Thank you for saying yes. Thank you for being a part of providing life-changing experiences to the campers we serve. Thank you for showing up despite the nerves and "what are we getting ourselves into??" moments and for teaching us all a powerful lesson in the sweetness of sacrifice. We can't wait to have you back this summer!

Written by Maureen O'Connor
Then... Now... Next...
10+ weeks of summer camp and everyone had a blast providing life-changing experiences to more campers than ever before! Groups, individuals, youths, adults, mothers and daughters, campers' family members, and former campers made up the 600+ volunteer who donated their time across the organization and for that we all THANK YOU! It's not just us who are thankful, but our campers and caregivers also thank you for giving them each a summer to remember. 

Fall respite and family camp were both a success! Big shout out to St. Cloud State SPED 203 students for spending your weekends assisting campers and staff during our year-round programming.

Hard to believe, but Winter Camp just ended. We had the wonderful Landers family at Camp Courage for Winter Camp Blast, and mostly returning youth volunteers at Camp Friendship. Everyone enjoyed the bouncy house, dog sledding, zip lining, swimming, Adventures in Cardboard, and all of the snowmobile rides and popcorn!

CIT*1 applications for summer 2016 at Camp Friendship are currently open and are due February 1, 2016. Phone interviews will be conducted in March, and all CIT*1s will be hired with contracts in the mail no later than April 1, 2016. If you have questions/concerns regarding the CIT*1 program, requirements or hiring process, please contact Amanda
Maureen, Amanda and the rest of the camping team will be hitting the road to high schools and colleges to recruit volunteers and staff for summer 2016! If your school is having a fair or you'd like us to come present to your class that requires service learning hours/would make great staff, contact Amanda or Maureen ASAP to set up a visit!
We'll also make sure to let you know when we're signed up for events around your area so you can come help us out.
Contact Us!
Make sure to join True Friends' Volunteers
FB group for additional pictures, perks, and info.
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True Friends' Volunteer Services & Seasonal Recruitment
Conor McGrath, Director - 952.852.0113
Amanda Sorell, Manager - 952.697.2295
Maureen O'Connor, Coordinator - 952.697.2286