The History of Camp Get-A-Well-A®
The inspiration to start an in-hospital summer camp for kids first hit Kate Bach Davis in 1998, when she met a sick young girl named Willow. Willow was an angry 8-year-old girl undergoing cancer treatments. She refused to participate in the group activity that volunteer Kate was leading at a hospital in Phoenix, Arizona.
Willow told Kate, "I want to be at camp, but they MADE me come back to the hospital!" The little girl explained how she missed the swimming, camp crafts, marshmallow roasting, and time spent playing with her new camp friends.
The Vow to Help Kids
Willow's blood cell counts had dipped to dangerously low levels just 3 days before, so she had been airlifted from camp. Kate knew it wasn't possible for the girl to go back to summer camp, but she vowed to find another solution.
It was with that vow that the idea of an In-Hospital Summer Camp was born. Kate met Camp Get-A-Well-A co-founder, JoLanne Hanson, at St. Jude's in the year 2000, and together they developed an outline for the first-of-its-kind sterile summer camp for hospitalized children.
The Creation of Camp
Later that year, Kate received the Raising Arizona Award, presented by Target Stores, for her innovative co-creation of Camp Get-A-Well-A. In 2003 Camp Get-A-Well-A was recognized as a non-profit organization (501c3).
Kate and JoLanne continued to devote their evenings, weekends and vacations to camp, remaining non-paid volunteers through 2006. In 2007, JoLanne Hanson became Executive Director of Camp Get-A-Well-A. Kate Bach Davis remains involved as a Camp Get-A-Well-A supporter and volunteer.
Marketing and Public Relations Committee
To assist in getting the Camp Get-A-Well-A message out to a larger audience, Executive Director Jolanne Hanson assembled a volunteer Marketing and Public Relations Committee early in 2011. They've been working to update the website, re-work promotional materials and create a new quarterly newsletter. Each member brings expertise from their professional experience to benefit and advance the Camp Get-A-Well-A mission. We thank them for their energy, ideas and time! The group meets monthly and consists of:
Lori McManus, Project Manager
Lori is an independent marketing and advertising professional with previous experience working at both Best Buy and The Musicland Group and various advertising/marketing agencies. Her past strategic development and project management skills are great assets to the Marketing and Public Relations Committee. Lori is the mother of two young children and has had a life-long interest in volunteerism and non-profit work.
Kim Lindgren, Graphic Designer
Kim has had a life-long passion for art and design, enjoying all facets of creating, organizing and balancing space to create different results. She has worked professionally as a graphic designer in Chicago, San Francisco and Minneapolis. Kim also co-owned her own business. Kim also brought her creativity to work as a project manager and designer for eight residential remodeling projects. She comes to Camp Get-A-Well-A with prior volunteer experience as a graphic designer with ICA Foodshelf. She also served as Co-President, Purchasing, Fundraising Chair positions and volunteer Art Teacher for the Twin Cities Co-Op Preschool in California for four years. Creativity, problem solving and organizational skills are the great assets she brings to producing Camp Get-A-Well-A marketing materials.
Nicole Ave'Lallemant, Web Content/Social Media
Nicole is an experienced project manager with community outreach focus in the art and health fields. She has worked in leadership roles at the University of Minnesota, Northwest Hennepin Human Services Council and is currently at Bethesda Hospital supporting the Hospital Medicine Service program. Nicole is also the annual Edina Art Fair Volunteer Coordinator. She is practiced in managing databases for public health research and updating social media for Longfellow Brewery and 50th and France Business Association. Nicole enjoys putting her strong organizational and communication skills to use at local art and health organizations, such as MN Public Radio and Open Arms MN, and is ecstatic to be a part of Camp Get-A-Well-A!
Julie Honebrink, Writer/Editor
Julie is a communication and community outreach professional. For the last 10 years of her career, she worked in commercial media- at ABC Radio and then KMSP-TV FOX 9- as a Community Relations Director, with a focus on public relations and non-profit partnerships. Prior to that, she was a Senior Campaign Director at the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, where she led all areas of event fundraising and marketing. Julie is excited to share her writing and promotional expertise, along with her passion for the Twin Cities non-profit community, as a volunteer writer for Camp Get-A-Well-A.