Every year at this time you hear us talking about the Pine Tree Camp in Rome, Maine. We're raising money for the camp through our annual Egg Ride coming up this Saturday. Over the years we've had questions like "is that camp even in Maine?" So I thought I'd introduce you to some of the kids for whom the camp is the coolest place on Earth.

Meet Danielle!

What we sometimes forget is that the impact of Pine Tree Camp extends to the entire family.  The Beauregard family has found that extraordinary summer camp on North Pond to hold a special place in their hearts.

Mark and Tracy Beauregard first discovered Pine Tree Camp almost eight years ago when they attended Pine Tree Camp’s Camp Communicate weekend, a special weekend designed specifically for nonverbal children who use computerized devices to communicate and their family. They enrolled their now 16-year-old daughter, Danielle.

“Arriving at Pine Tree Camp, I remember being so impressed,” explained Tracy Beauregard, Danielle’s mom. “The staff were so friendly and knowledgeable. Danielle was having summer fun just like every other kid.  It was wonderful.”

It was then that the idea of attending Pine Tree Camp overnight session first crossed Mark and Tracy’s minds.

“I remember having many questions and concerns, but the staff put our minds at ease,” explained Beauregard. “So I thought to myself, you know this is the first step, I know her needs are being met and she is having fun.  She can do this.”

Today, Pine Tree Camp has become a highlight that the entire family looks forward to each summer. Danielle has been attending Pine Tree Camp’s overnight six-day sessions for the past couple of years. In fact, Danielle will be attending two sessions this summer.

When driving down the camp road and North Pond comes into view, the entire family immediately becomes excited. Danielle is entering a world that is barrier-free, leaving behind the confines of her disability thanks to an accessible campus, committed and well-trained staff and peer support. The camp staff are in sight and cheering Danielle’s name.

“Having campers and counselors cheer and welcome Danielle into camp, makes me tear up every year.” Beauregard added. “We all love it! It’s an amazing feeling knowing Pine Tree Camp can’t wait for Danielle and is so excited she has arrived.”

At Pine Tree Camp, Danielle is able to actively participate in activities rather than sitting on the sidelines. She can enjoy all the outdoor activities for which Maine is famous – fishing, kayaking, hiking and swimming – while experiencing freedom and independence.

“When Danielle leaves Pine Tree Camp she gets this sense of independence,” added Beauregard. “Although she can’t verbally express her thoughts and feelings it’s almost as though she is telling me ‘I can do this on my own.  I don’t need help.’”

Just as importantly, Pine Tree Camp provides other members of the family needed respite.

“Our entire family benefits from Pine Tree Camp. It is a time for all of us to take a break from our everyday lives.”

Danielle’s story is one of many. Each year, hundreds of Maine children and adults with disabilities come to Pine Tree Camp. Their story is one of transformation, personal achievement and life-long memories.

“Mark and I know we will not be able to provide for Danielle forever, but we also know she will be okay without us always there, and Pine Tree Camp has proved that to us.”

Your support of the Q106.5 Celebrity Egg Ride lets campers like Danielle continue to experience all that Pine Tree Camp has to offer. All money raised goes directly to Pine Tree Camp. Help continue the tradition.Make your donation today by calling 991-9500, at our online site, or visit J.R. any afternoon this week between 2 and 6pm at Danforth's Down Home Supermarket in Hermon. (He'll be there til 9 on Friday!)