Last month residents of Wake Robin, Vermont’s first Continuing Care Retirement Community, presented Hattie Johnson, director of development at Camp Ta-Kum-Ta in South Hero, with 10 handmade quilts. Camp Ta-Kum-Ta, founded in 1984, provides traditional summer camp activities and life-changing experiences tuition-free for Vermont and northern New York youths ages 7-17 that have or have had cancer.
“Last year, each child that attended the week-long camp went home with a quilt,” said Johnson. “Each quilt was made with love, and we appreciate the generosity and talents of the residents at Wake Robin. Resident Mary Pringle did a great job of organizing their efforts this year, and their help is important in furthering Camp Ta-Kum-Ta’s mission of providing a safe, loving, and fun environment where campers can heal and focus on being kids, instead of on their diagnoses,” added Johnson.
“Before moving to Wake Robin I lived in South Hero,” offered Pringle. “When Camp Ta-Kum-Ta moved to the islands in 2008 I became familiar with its mission. After that it was only a matter of time before I got involved with the nonprofit organization.”
True to her word, Pringle approached the needle worker group already in place at Wake Robin with her idea of making quilts for the camp. “Mary came to the textile, fiber arts lab building where the needle worker group meets to discuss her quilting initiative in October,” resident Judy Siccama recalled. “Mary wasn’t a quilter, but she was happy to organize the project.”
And Siccama was happy to volunteer and to reach out to other Wake Robin quilters. By December Siccama had recruited four volunteers who began quilting on a weekly basis. While the residents collaborated on quilts, Pringle spoke with other quilting guilds and received commitments from each group to make quilts for Camp Ta-Kum-Ta. By April Wake Robin had completed 10 quilts as did the other collaborators. Thanks to the volunteer quilters and Pringle’s efforts, a total of 45 quilts are ready for campers this summer.
“The Camp Ta-Kum-Ta quilting initiative is one example of how residents are dedicated to giving back to the community,” said Nancy Chiquoine, director of marketing and resident services at Wake Robin. “Community engagement is a very real priority; last year, residents contributed over 1,000 hours of volunteer time to nonprofits outside of Wake Robin.”