“Pine Tree Camp is all about love. If you spend just 10 minutes there, you’ll see it for yourself.”
That’s how Kathy Clement feels about Pine Tree Camp. Every year, her family and friends come together to share — and spread — that love as a boisterous, multi-generational, straw-hat-wearing fundraising team at the Bath Savings Paddle for Pine Tree Camp.
Their fundraising is for Pine Tree Camp. Their straw hats are for Kathy’s late husband, Reggie. Reggie’s River Ramblers arose from a place of loss after he was killed by an impaired driver. What propels this team forward is remembering Reggie’s big heart.
Kathy recalled, “People came from everywhere for his funeral and when they shared their condolences I would ask ‘Do you know how much Reggie loved you?’ and the answer was always ‘Yes. I felt his love.’ What more would you want in life than to be remembered that way?”
Kathy wanted to find a way to honor and continue Reggie’s loving spirit and passion for the outdoors. When her sons Jesse and Cody suggested Pine Tree Camp, she immediately knew what to do. She and her family got right to work organizing a paddle team to raise money for campers to attend Pine Tree Camp.
“Pine Tree Camp is an incredible place,” she continued. “When the campers arrive, they are welcomed like rockstars. The counselors ring a big bell and shout out their name. Every person deserves to feel that kind of love.”
Thanks to Pine Tree Camp’s Open Door Policy, every Maine child and adult with a disability can have that experience.
“No one is ever denied because of money and every dollar we raise as a team supports that,” Kathy said.
Reggie’s River Ramblers is made up of family, friends and co-workers from as far away as Florida. Kathy’s sons, grandchildren, daughter-in-laws and 79 year old mother are among the paddlers.
“My son, Jesse, is a sergeant with the Farmington Police Department and my son, Cody, is a Local 104 lineman. Their co-workers help our team raise money too.”
Friday evening before the paddle, Reggie’s River Ramblers gather in Reggie’s barn for a DJ karaoke party and camp out.
It’s a tradition she cherishes.
Recently, one of her teammates had a stroke and, in an unexpected full circle, attended Pine Tree Camp as a camper herself.
“You don’t know where this world is going to take you,” said Kathy. “One minute you’re paddling, the next minute you’re a camper. You can’t go wrong with love.”
Check out more photos of Reggie’s River Ramblers on Facebook.