mary ellen deschenesReal Kids. Real Camps. Real Maine!  ……..and Mary Ellen Deschenes makes our 100 plus years Maine Camping Tradition something unique,  enriching and a life-changing experience not just for kids but also for those connected to Maine Summer Camps.   As Maine camps have connected thousands of children with nature, outdoor and sports skills, fun, physical and spiritual growth, and lasting friendships Mary Ellen has kept us - the facilitators of this process - connected to the realities of our industry today.  She has passionately served the Camp Community both  internally and externally for over 25 years.  Mary Ellen’s background in Health Education, Public Communication and Civic Leadership represent her life-long guiding principles of commitment and dedication to Maine Summer Camps.  Mary Ellen has served as the Executive Director of the Susan L. Curtis Foundation serving over 400 disadvantaged Maine children annually.  In this capacity she led capital campaigns, expanded outreach and enrollment while recruiting statewide support from Maine businesses, foundations and politicians.  Prior to her extraordinary accomplishments at Susan Curtis, Mary Ellen directed the Public Health Division and the Dental Health Division for the State of Maine.  Her multi-faceted skills  of organization, operational procedure, marketing and management expertise resulted in putting the health interest of Maine people first.  It is this past decade, however, that all of us associated with Maine Summer Camps have really been the primary beneficiaries of Mary Ellen Deschenes.  Succeeding Frank Levine and Ed Andrews Mary Ellen has consolidated the original Maine Youth Camping Association from 5 part-time employees to one part-time employee and consultant advisor, resulting in a more effective and efficient operation.  Mary Ellen developed a fundraising program for the organization.  She has been instrumental in expanding membership statewide both for camps and business affiliates.  In the past few years, Mary Ellen was pivotal in facilitating the process of creating a new 501c4 governmental relations “sister” association with a separate board (today’s MYCA) to our renamed 501c3 Maine Youth Camping Foundation allowing for that organization to be a leader among state associations.  Today, both of these organizations, MYCA and MYCF,  operate and conduct business under the umbrella of Maine Summer Camps in large part to the extraordinary efforts of our organization’ incomparable Mary Ellen Deschenes.  It is with our utmost respect, gratitude and sincere appreciation that on this day, July 11, 2012, we honor Mary Ellen Deschenes with the Halsey Gulick Award, the highest award in Maine camping one can receive for dedicated service to Maine camps, for giving unselfishly of her time above and beyond the call of duty as a consultant to Maine Summer Camps.  The camping movement in Maine is better for the effort and energy Mary Ellen has dedicated to the camping industry. Mary Ellen, thank you for your extraordinary effort, your tenacity and your ability to get things done. On behalf of your peers in camping, we honor you with the Halsey Gulick Award.

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