Friday, May 8, 2009

Karma (Club) Chameleon

Recently, I had the opportunity to spend the afternoon with some of the members of Club Chameleon, a program in Newmarket, NH that provides an all-inclusive environment for kids ages 10-16 with experiences outside of their local surroundings. Club Chameleon’s philosophy is to focus on introducing kids to a variety of outdoor activities, along with community service and social events that help foster personal growth and self worth. They have mentors within the program and volunteer in their community. They currently are helping a local farmer. A cornerstone of the program is providing opportunities to interact with positive role models and teaching the kids to become mentors themselves.

I was visiting Club Chameleon to donate some tents. One of our goals is to get kids into the outdoors. Our thought is that if we teach kids the importance of being outside, not only will they be physically and mentally healthier, but they’ll understand the importance of protecting our environment. So, we gathered all of our returned tents and previous years’ demos, cleaned them and made sure they were in great working condition. Another bonus of the program is that we’re giving these tents a second life—the best kind of recycling.

On my visit to Club Chameleon, I had the chance to go through the tents with about 10 kids from the program. We set the tents up, crawled around in them, and basically goofed off for a while. We talked about how to properly position your tent and overall tent maintenance.

Part of the group was getting ready for an overnight trip up Sandwich Mountain, so they were thinking about which tents they wanted to bring. The girls of the group set out to rename each tent, giving Hypno EX, for example, the new name Connie. I told them NEMO's Connie would be very honored.

Through Club Chameleon, these kids not only go hiking and backpacking, but mountain biking, surfing, whitewater rafting, canoeing and more. Coupled with volunteer efforts in their community, I just think it’s an amazing program. Last fall, when I met Anneliese, the director of the program, she showed me the old tents the group was using. They were cheap, heavy, and in dire need of repair. I’m excited that we are able to give them something better, which will help the kids enjoy their experience that much more.

My next visit for tent donations will be to the AMC later this month. I’ll fill you in on their program next!


No comments: