Barbara Reece, one of the founding mothers of Venture Together, shares a letter of dedication to Arline’s memory.
Known by all as a supportive and kind mentor, Arline touched the hearts and minds of everyone she met. We will all miss her gift of laughter and optimism, and will always remember her through her lifelong commitment to Venture Together. Through her legacy, we have grown and thrived into the Venture of today, and are blessed to have her impact live on.
These sentiments are shared by Barbara Reece, another founding mother of Venture Together who helped create Camp Venture in 1969, and was a close friend to Arline.
Read Barbara’s letter of dedication to Arline’s memory below:
“A Tribute to a Founding Mother of Camp Venture”
In 1969 when a group of energized parents were working together to create a summer camp for their developmentally disabled children, Arline Rodgers was there.
How could she have known of a lifetime of commitment that lay ahead as she joined what became the family of Camp Venture?
Kathleen Lukens of Tappan, then President of the Exception Child PTA, had called upon families – Mom’s and Dad’s – to work with local and state officials in Rockland County and New York State to raise awareness and the funds to operate a summer recreation program for their kids who were being left behind. Arline and her family signed on.
Incorporated as Camp Venture, Inc., the summer camp finally opened. First in Suffern, NY, then a season in Blauvelt, and finally found its home on a piece of land at the overcrowded and underserved state facility, Letchworth Developmental Center in Stony Point, NY.
Here Arline and hundreds of Venture volunteers, neighbors, and friends, cleaned up and transformed the land that had sat unused for many years. They built a campsite that brought days of fun to hundreds of special children, including Arline’s son, Bucky, and his friends.
Its motto: A Place in the Sun for Everyone.
Arline and her friends were already part of a volunteer program at Letchworth Village. They regularly brought groups of girls who lived there to visit their homes to enjoy parties and Birthday celebrations.
Proud to be a Rockland County native and to be living in Stony Point, Arline was busy raising their young children, Linda, Michael, and Charles, (Bucky), who had special needs. She organized a neighborhood daycare program, looked after a senior neighbor who lived alone, and served her church well.
Venture’s Board, under the leadership of Executive Director, Kathy, and Orangetown Legislator, John Murphy, became challenged toward developing homes in the community for people with developmental disabilities. Arline was now a member of the board and later joined the staff as Assistant to the Executive Director.
Years of constant Venture business kept her involved. Early on marching in towns to encourage acceptance of group homes, attending legislative meetings, and championing the cause for special people. Later, assisting with the operation of the summer camp program – her favorite – and volunteering for many fund-raising events to gain the community’s help. The annual Cablethon for Camp Venture, performed live on local cable TV, had her managing the cue signs for its star, Vic Arnell. She called it a labor of love.
When she retired in 2000, the Rodgers Home in Suffern had already been named in her honor, a sign of her love for the people she served.
Arline lived the legacy of Camp Venture.
Job well done. Rest in Peace, dear friend.
Barbara Reece, Former Executive Director,