Like most of the buildings at camp, the infirmary has been around for as long as any of us can remember. If it has changed in the last thirty years, those changes have been minor and nearly imperceptible. In part, this is by design. When alumni visit after years, or even decades away, they almost always say something to the effect of, "Nothing's changed! It's exactly how I remember it!" They love it, and we love it too.
Healthcare, however, has changed dramatically over the past few generations, to say nothing of since camp began in the 1920s. Fifty years ago, many campers might have had no occasion to visit the infirmary other than for their standard check-up on Sundays. The only other reason to see the nurse would have been for illness or injury. Today, that's changed. A significant number of campers and staff make regular stops at the infirmary to attend to a variety of routine needs. Daily medications and supplements are common these days, and we are all much more in tune with our systems.
While the infirmary itself may be starting to feel outdated and ready for replacement, the standard of care continues to be exceptional. Today's staff of nurses is carrying on a legacy that is as old as the camp, and we have had the extraordinary good fortune of some exceptional nurses through Kabeyun's history. And it is thanks to the family of one of those great nurses that we are ready and able to get serious about transitioning to a new era of healthcare at Kabeyun.
A short time ago, alumnus Greg Smith and his family approached us with an interest in creating a project in honor of their mother, Natalie Smith, who passed away in 2006 and was Kabeyun's nurse through the 1960s and 1970s. Before long, we were looking at initial designs and drawings from an architect and daydreaming about not just a renovated infirmary, but a full-fledged health center, a state-of-the-art facility that would establish not just a more efficient and comfortable venue for working with patients, but would provide nurses with a better living space. If ever there was a right place to bring a touch of modernity to Kabeyun, this was it!
The entire Smith family, including Lisa who followed in her mother-in-law’s footsteps as camp’s nurse for several years in the 1990s, has leapt forward to support this project, which is now nearing realization. A capital campaign to raise the remainder of the necessary funds is underway – a letter from the three physicians on the Porter Foundation's board of trustees is included here, and we hope to have record participation from the Kabeyun community for this worthwhile project.
The Smith family, continuing their remarkable investment in the project, has offered to match donations made through the end of 2015 up to $30,000 – with their help and yours, we can build a state-of-the-art health center that will not only benefit generations of future campers, but will serve as a tangible demonstration of Kabeyun's commitment to the health and safety of its community. As always, your donation is tax-deductible.
Read the Appeal Letter
Make a Donation for the Health Center Project