Around the Campfire

True Friends Programs and Services: COVID-19 Update

Dear Friend, 

 

True Friends has been receiving a variety of questions regarding the impact COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may have on our programs and services. True Friends has been, and will continue to, closely monitor COVID-19 and follow recommendations and protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), and Minnesota Department of Health. 

 

Ensuring the health and safety of participants, guests, and staff is our top priority. True Friends has evaluated the operation for each of our programs and services and has made the decision to suspend all programs and services beginning Monday, March 16 until Tuesday, March 31 and will tentatively resume regular operations beginning Wednesday, April 1, 2020.  

 

True Friends has placed additional guidelines in place to ensure the well-being of participants, guests, and staff. We are not aware of any individuals connected to True Friends who have been exposed to COVID-19.  

 

True Friends offices will remain open, we ask if you would like to visit one of our locations, please call us first at 952.852.0101. 

 

True Friends will follow directions and protocols set by the CDC, WHO, and state and local agencies. In the event of an outbreak or mandate prohibiting large group gatherings applicable to True Friends programs and services, True Friends will reevaluate these decisions and continue to communicate any changes. 

 

If you have immediate concerns regarding our programs and services please contact us during regular business hours, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. at 952.852.0101 or at info@truefriends.org 

 

We will continue to track COVID-19, use best practices to reduce the spread and impact, and communicate any potential impact at True Friends. 

 

John LeBlanc 

President & CEO, True Friends 

That’s a Wrap, Celebrate the Last 10 Years with True Friends!

It is officially 2020 and True Friends is excited to ring in the new year. We wanted to start this year off with celebrating some of our top moments from the last 10 years!

True Friends Awards Scholarships to Two 2019 Summer Staff!

Each summer True Friends hires hundreds of summer staff to support our summer camp program. Staff members are given the opportunity to apply for scholarships to help support their education. This year, thanks to some generous donors, we were able to award scholarships to two individuals.

See the World with Ventures Travel

Nearly every other year Troy Hunstad has been traveling all around the United States through customized trips with Ventures Travel. From the Grand Canyon to Key West to Hawaii, Troy is an experienced traveler.

Volunteer With True Friends!

Every year True Friends welcomes 400+ youth, adults, groups, and family volunteers who contribute over 20,000 service hours. The hours provided by volunteers save True Friends over one million dollars every year. Support from volunteers like Gabby is invaluable. “I started volunteering because I wanted to challenge myself with a community I was unfamiliar with,” Gabby said. “The more I volunteered, the more I grew. I learned patience, trust, and how to be more kind.”

Team Building With a Personalized Approach

Team Quest is a leadership development program that provides specialized team building, high ropes, and professional development opportunities for youth to adults. Team Quest focuses on empowering individuals and teams to discover their capabilities by providing programs that stretch the boundaries of one’s comfort zone to increase self-efficacy.

New Year, New Values at True Friends

At True Friends we continually strive to learn, grow and evolve in an effort to enhance our programs and services; to ensure we are offering life-changing experiences to individuals of all abilities. When it comes to making decisions about those programs and services, we look toward our values to guide our thinking. In 2018, as we took a closer look at our values and how they fit into our plans for today, tomorrow and in the future, we found ourselves wanting to say more.

Camp Cambria Foundation Invests $2.2 Million in Camp Courage Renovation

The Camp Cambria Foundation is investing over $2.2 million renovating several buildings at Camp Courage in Maple Lake, MN.

“The gift from the Camp Cambria Foundation will truly enhance the quality of experience our participants will enjoy for generations to come,” said True Friends President & CEO John LeBlanc. “We are humbled by their dedication and commitment to support individuals of all abilities.”

The Camp Cambria Foundation and the Arthritis Foundation team up every summer to offer a specialized camp session for kids and teens with juvenile arthritis called Camp Cambria, held at Camp Courage in Maple Lake. Over the years, the foundation saw an opportunity to not only create a better experience for their campers, but also for over 1,300 children and adults with disabilities who enjoy Camp Courage each summer.

Renovation of the Lakeside dining hall, health center and arts & crafts building began in February and will continue through early summer. The dining hall will be torn down to the studs and rebuilt to be a year-round gathering space featuring an upgraded kitchen and restructured bathrooms. The health center will see new updates in layout, equipment and finishes; while the arts & crafts building will provide more accessibility.

The renovation is supported by several local and family-owned vendors from a variety of fields including electrical, plumbing, roofing, HVAC and many others.

Learn more about the project by visiting www.truefriends.org/ccfreno.

By |5:54 pm|Around the Campfire|Comments Off on Camp Cambria Foundation Invests $2.2 Million in Camp Courage Renovation|

True Friends Names New President & CEO

John LeBlanc was recently 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, while being responsive to the growing needs of the populations we serve.”

John was first introduced to True Friends through one of his sons.

“Our family initially learned about True Friends when we were looking for a camping experience for our son who happens to have a physical disability,” said John. “When we picked him up from his first camp experience, he was so excited to give us a tour and show us all the things he did during his week of camp. Right then I realized how impactful True Friends is for participants and their families.”

John was inspired by the mission of True Friends and sought opportunities to be further engaged. He came on board later in 2014 as a Development Officer and had the opportunity to expand into the Chief Operations Officer role in 2015.True Friends began the search for a new President and CEO in the summer of 2017 with support from the search firm CohenTaylor. John was chosen from a group of five highly-qualified candidates to succeed Stracke, who had led the organization for over 33 years.

Prior to his career at True Friends, John worked in Fund Development for a variety of nonprofit organizations in the Twin Cities. John lives in Minneapolis with his wife Michelle and their four children.

By |7:26 pm|Around the Campfire|Comments Off on True Friends Names New President & CEO|

True Friends Programs and Services: COVID-19 Update 

True Friends has been receiving a variety of questions regarding the impact COVID-19 (Coronavirus) may have on our programs and services.

Following the MN state mandate, all True Friends locations are closed and services have been suspended until the “Stay At Home” order comes to a tentative close on April 10, 2020.

Unless noted below, all programs and services will be suspended through April 10, 2020. True Friends may tentatively resume onsite operations on Monday, April 13:

  • • The retreat program, Conference and Retreat, has suspended all services until May 17.
  • • The team building program, Team Quest, has suspended all services until May 17.
  • • The travel program, Ventures Travel, has suspended trips until April 30.
  • • Volunteer services is suspending volunteer opportunities until June 1.

True Friends will continue to follow the directions and protocols set by the CDC and WHO, as well as state and local agencies. If you have program specific questions or needs, please reach out to our staff who are working remotely to prepare for when program and services are back up and running again.

If you have any general questions or concerns please call 952.852.0101, Monday – Friday from 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. ,or reach out to us via email at info@truefriends.org.

Thank you. We look forward to seeing you soon!

John LeBlanc
President and CEO
True Friends