Zeno Mountain Farm Offers Camp Fun For The Disabled

The Shopper Bellows Falls, Vt. Feb. 28, 2012

Zeno Mountain Farm Offers Camp Fun For The Disabled

LINCOLN, VT. - Zeno Mountain Farm is a non-profit, year-round organization that houses camps for disabled people of all ages and created by brothers Will and Peter Halby, who were one-time counselors at a similar camp on Martha's Vineyard called Camp Jabberwocky, from which their organization is also modeled from. The Halby Brothers along with their wives Vanessa and Ila, established a Los Angeles-based camp and its own non-profit in 2003 and in the fall of 2008, began looking for a site on the east coast in order to establish a second camp.

Photo courtesy of Zeno Mountain Farm

After searching all over new England, they purchased land on Zeno Road in Lincoln, Vermont and launched Zeno Mountain Farm. They also run a month-long camp in the summer for campers with many different disabilities like Down syndrome, Cerebral Palsy and Asbergers Syndrome, William's Syndrome and others.

"My son, Gabriel, is 17 and has a rare syndrome called Lennox-Gastaut, a seizure disorder that is non-responsive to medications, Steve Dresner said in a recent interview. "He has limited speech and is developmentally delayed, however, he is a happy young man who enjoys sports and other people. "We found out about this camp from Jill and Bobby Collins who have a disabled daughter, who is a school mate of our son. Bobby is a well-known comedian from New York who has opened for Frank Sinatra, Cher and others."

Zeno Mountain Farm's volunteer councilors come from all over the country to assist in cook the meals and participate in the activities, giving each camper a one-on-one companion at each camp. Not only do the campers have a great time, but also the parents and care givers get a welcome respite. "We were just there for a week ski camp that was in conjunction with Vermont Adaptive at Mt. Ellen," Dresner said.

Zeno Mountain's vision is clear and simple; To support friendships people with and without disabilities. They are a community of friends, not a "staff and clients." Everyone at the camp is expected to support the community to the level of their individual ability. To this end, directors and administrators are not paid, parents of campers are discouraged from making donations and folks are invited back to the camp year after year.

"This is a great organization that is love in the purest sense of the word. Any one who experiences the camp comes out with a new energy and a keener appreciation of the value of our lives and the lives of others, no matter how different. It is truly something to behold."

It is easy to become involved with Zeno Mountain Farm, for they are always looking for volunteer counselors and cooks to provide healthy meals and camps are run solely on donations (monetary and resourcful) from the community, which are 100 percent tax-deductible. To learn more about Zeno Mountain Farm and how you can get involved, visit their web site at www.zenomountainfarm.org or call 802-453-4663.