True Friends is a nonprofit agency providing life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities. True Friends’ programs include camp, respite, therapeutic horseback riding, conference and retreat, travel and team building; serving over 25,000 individuals annually. With locations near Maple Lake, Annandale, Plymouth, Eden Prairie and Bemidji, True Friends serves individuals in Minnesota and throughout the United States.
Provide life-changing experiences that enhance independence and self-esteem for children and adults with disabilities.
A world where experiences and adventures are open to individuals of all abilities.
Empowerment We provide individuals the tools, training, and information to encourage them to make mindful and confident decisions about their own future growth.
Experience We strive to create an authentic atmosphere of inclusion and belonging; to support independence and exploration while providing the opportunity for positive outcomes.
Integrity We believe that how things are done is as important as what is done; thus, we are committed to honest, fair, respectful, and authentic principles.
Safety We are committed to making safety a way of life at True Friends; ensuring a secure accessible environment, providing mindful training, and making dedicated changes to enhance our overall operations.
Sustainability We are dedicated to continuous improvement to ensure ongoing financial, program and infrastructure success.
John LeBlanc, True Friends President & CEO
John LeBlanc was named President and CEO of True Friends effective January 1, 2018.
“I am thrilled to be leading such an inspiring organization that has a strong foundation created by Ed Stracke,” said LeBlanc. “I look forward to continuing to offer the same life-changing experiences for individuals of all abilities.”
John was first introduced to True Friends when one of his children attended Camp Courage and Camp Friendship in the summer of 2014. John was inspired by the organization and soon expanded his career with the organization.
We partner with various community organizations that support individuals with disabilities. We collaborate with social workers to broaden options available to their clientele. We also work with schools to increase diversity and cultural awareness, helping students better understand the value of contributions of all people.
True Friends is committed to providing quality services to all our customers. This includes the individuals who utilize our services, their families, friends, social workers and residential providers.
We have over 50 years of camp experience and serve over 5,000 children and adults annually, maintaining our commitment and advocacy for people with disabilities.
We are accredited by the American Camping Association, following its requirements for certification.
We are licensed by the Minnesota Department of Health and the Minnesota Department of Human Services following their guidelines for licensing.
Staff Hiring and Training
True Friends is committed to providing all our program participants and staff with a safe and high-quality experience.
Our process to hire staff begins with partnering with reputable local, national, and international organizations to find individuals best suited for the settings in which we provide services. Once the individual has applied, an average application process includes pre-screens, interviews, reference checks and background checks. Then, once the individual is hired, she/he must complete several hours of online and in-person training.
To learn more about the specific hiring and training requirements of each program or service please call 952.852.0101.
Camp Courage has 240 acres along scenic lakeshore, woods and fields near Maple Lake, Minn. on beautiful Cedar Lake. It offers multiple meeting facilities and has two campuses: Lakeside and Woodland, both with year-round lodging. Camp Courage is home to True Strides Horse Therapy and plays host to summer camps, conference and retreat groups, and team building through Team Quest.
Camp Friendship is located on 115 acres of scenic woodlands and is on Clearwater Lake just 60 miles northwest of the Twin Cities near Annandale, Minn. The fully accessible camp offers modern cabins and facilities, dining hall, arts and crafts building, recreational hall, nature building, gymnasium, indoor pool, climbing wall, ropes course and more. Camp Friendship plays host to a variety of our programs including Respite, Summer and Winter Camp, Retreats, and team building activities through Team Quest.
Camp Eden Wood is a fully accessible camp tucked in the woods on Birch Island Lake just west of where I-494 meets Highway 62 in Eden Prairie, Minn. Campers enjoy the modern cabins, waterfront, hiking trails, basketball court, ropes course, dining hall and numerous other activities.
Camp Courage North is located in the beautiful Paul Bunyan State Forest area near Itasca State Park. Situated on Lake George, this fully accessible camp adds that “up north” feeling to everything you do there – and if you like the outdoors, there’s a lot you can do!
True Friends is the result of two legacy providers coming together. Courage Center Camps and Friendship Ventures partnered together in November 2012 to create a new camp organization to serve people with disabilities. This collaboration brings together two of Minnesota’s largest and most dynamic providers in the disability community. Both organizations have rich histories of providing exceptional and much needed services. Camp Courage was established in 1955 to service individuals with physical disabilities. Friendship Ventures was established in 1964, serving participants with developmental disabilities and special needs. …Read More.