by Sally Dougherty, Family Relations Director
When I awoke to the pitter-patter of rain on Saturday, my heart sunk. “No one will come to the Holt picnic with weather like this,” I thought. Scheduled for Saturday, July 16th — when, presumably, it should be perfectly safe to plan outdoor events in Oregon — the Portland Area Holt Picnic was set to begin at 11am at Camp Angelos in Corbett. The following day, Holt’s Oregon adoptee camp would also kick off at Camp Angelos.
“Thank goodness there’s a lodge with indoor dining,” I said to myself as I grabbed my hooded Holt sweatshirt.
In spite of the rainy morning, 150 people showed up for the picnic! By 12:30, the rain had stopped and the sun had come out to stay – just in time for the campground tour and planned children’s activities.
Every summer, Holt picnics across the country bring adoptees and adoptive families together for a fun afternoon outdoors. We’d like to think our fabulous activities draw the crowds every year, rain or shine. But we know what truly makes Holt picnics special: the chance for fellow adoptive families and adoptees to meet or reconnect as one big Holt family.
This is true of every Holt picnic.
But one feature of the Portland-area picnic makes it truly unique. Every summer, a spirited and diverse group of adult adoptees volunteer five weeks out of their lives to serve as counselors at Holt’s six adoptee camps. After a week of training at Holt’s headquarters in Eugene, they begin camp season in Oregon. With the picnic held at the same site as the Oregon camp, that means that for the second year in a row, the Holt adoptee camp counselors led the day’s festivities at the Portland-area picnic!
They served as picnic greeters, shared info about camp and, of course, provided entertainment…
After lunch, Holt’s camp director, Steve Kalb, led a tour of the campground for parents.
Meanwhile, counselors led games for children of all ages, including Dance Time, The Alligator Song, shapes, bananas, and “The Funky Chicken.”
Kids’ activities concluded with the breaking open of a pinata absolutely stuffed with candy. No children were harmed in the breaking of the pinata, but a few dentist appointments may have been scheduled by parents afterwards.
Towards the end of the day, one adoptive parent approached assistant camp director, Michael Tessier. “I just want to tell you that the counselors have been wonderful to my daughter,” the woman told him. “She’s coming to camp tomorrow and she has been so nervous about not knowing anyone. But the counselors have been so friendly and helped her feel comfortable. She’s excited now to come back tomorrow for camp.”
As another family was leaving, the mother said, “We’ll definitely put camp and day camp on our calendar for next year!”
Please mark your calendars for next year’s Portland Area Holt Picnic. It will be held Saturday, July 14th, at Camp Angelos – rain or shine (hopefully shine). For information on Holt’s camp and day camp program, please contact Pame Chow, at firstname.lastname@example.org
If you attended this picnic, we’d love to hear from you. If you’ll be there next year, tell your friends and invite them to join you!