Volunteers Honored at Community of Efforts

Last night at our Community of Efforts Celebration hosted by TrueNorth Community Services, we honored outstanding volunteers and donors.

In the lobby of TrueNorth, a quote from Margaret Mead reads: “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.”

That rings true for each person who makes the outstanding work we do at Camp Newaygo possible.


Gene Cotton Award: Barb Veenstra

The Gene Cotton Award recognizes those who support program development and service delivery and who embrace actions that benefit our communities and those in need.  Barb Veenstra’s commitment to Camp Newaygo has truly impacted our future in very positive ways.

As a member of the Building a Brighter Future Capital Campaign Cabinet Barb was one of the first to sign on in support of the new Health and Leadership Lodge. This facility replaces the 1926 nurse’s station with a modern health center and community use facility. Barb has been keeping close tabs on the project with frequent drives from her home in Cedar Springs to check on the progress.

As a child, Barb’s parents, Kay and Don Veenstra, grew up during The Great Depression. However, they made sure that Barb had the opportunity to come to Camp Newaygo. One of her greatest loves was learning about anything in or on the water. As a tribute to honor the 20th anniversary of the passing of her mother, Barb wanted to do something special.  Camp Newaygo had just been presented with the challenge of preserving property around its primitive camping area. Barb stepped forward with a 15-year financial pledge to purchase the property and save a vital part of the Camp Newaygo experience for generations to come.

In honor of her parents and Barb’s English and Scotch heritage, the new property was dedicated as Veenstra Highlands.

Barb was honored for her vision and willingness to take action to ensure a brighter future. Her financial commitment will preserve this natural setting for generations of campers and community members to enjoy.


Camp Newaygo Program Award: Nancy Norden

Nancy became a volunteer as a Camp Newaygo Advisory Board member in 1995 when Camp Newaygo was acquired by TrueNorth. Over the past 23 years, Nancy has helped guide camp leadership through a period of growth working towards sustainability for generations to come.

As a retired special education teacher, Nancy has a real understanding of the need for a special place for children to learn and grow. Nancy is an alumnus of camp and works to ensure girls today have the same opportunity to learn, grow, and gain leaderships skills just as she did.

Nancy has been involved with raising funds for Camp operations and scholarships; she was a member of the Camp Newaygo Golf Classic Committee; and volunteers for The Enchanted Forest as well as being a resident camp volunteer helping to greet parents on arrival day.

Nancy’s family has been attending Camp for three generations, with her grandchildren attending Mom and Me and family community events.

We are honored to have Nancy’s dedication to the mission of Camp Newaygo to provide programs and opportunities to children and families.


Community Partner Award: Brant Electric

The Community Partner Award is given to honor a business whom has undertaken a specific project to assist TrueNorth and it’s programs.

Brant Electric is a rather new company in Newaygo County. Owner Ryan Brant and his wife have shown from the beginning that improving the community they grew up in was a priority.  Whether it was coming out to do service on the weekend or meeting to plan a major project, Ryan is always there. Ryan has a creative problem-solving mind and doesn’t hesitate to do the work to lay a strong infrastructure foundation for Camp Newaygo’s future. He is always looking for cost savings and energy efficiencies, allowing camp to serve more children and families.

Ryan supports the work of TrueNorth by being a sponsor and engaging a team for TrueMentors’ Bowlapalooza 2018 event, as a sponsor for Camp Newaygo’s Golf Classic and is also a Leadership level donor to the Peggie Stone Center project.

We appreciate Brant Electric’s volunteerism and support of TrueNorth’s programs and facilities, and honor them as our Community Partner of the year.