Children’s Harbor sup, construction company representatives and Children’s Harbor employees break ground with Luanne and Ben Russell, pictured second and third from right. | Laura Pemberton

Archived Story

Groundbreaking at Children’s Harbor

Published 12:33pm Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Children’s Harbor has broken ground in the pursuit of dreams.

Co-founder of Children’s Harbor, Ben Russell, spoke at the groundbreaking ceremony Tuesday about the importance of the expansion.

“This is going to be here a long, long time,” Russell said. “Think of the blessings that are going to come from what we’re initiating today. You don’t know what it means to the children and their families. It really means so much.”

Jim Ray, CEO of Children’s Harbor said the campaign was named “In Pursuit of Dreams” because of all it represents to those Children’s Harbor serves.

“Every child who comes here possesses a dream,” Ray said. “They have been characterized by some as being disabled or sick, but regardless of all of those labels they have a dream. We want this place to be the beginning of additional dreams.”

Ray said the campaign has a working goal of $7 million, which will fund the expansion of the Children’s Harbor facility and contribute $3,175,000 to an endowment fund for the future.

The expansion will include the remodel of the bay house lodge that will sleep 60 children and be fully handicap accessible. It will include an outdoor activity pavilion where children can participate in arts and crafts and the creation of a new dock to allow the unloading of more than one boat at a time.

A new eating facility will also be included in the expansion and will increase the dining capacity from 85 to 200 people, according to Children’s Harbor representatives.

Director of Community Relations Tammy Jackson said a 200 person safe room will be added to the facility.

“In the wake of the tornado that recently hit here over a year ago we knew we needed a place to put children in case of approaching bad weather,” Jackson said.

Jennifer Amundsen, program director for Camp Smile-A-Mile, spoke at the ceremony about the importance of Children’s Harbor.

“Children’s Harbor is our permanent camp home,” Amundsen said. “It’s our home away from home. Thank you for making our dreams a reality. Your partnership will allow us to continue the magic of special needs camping.”

Families of former campers attended and were recognized at the groundbreaking ceremony.

“These families represent children who have had spent time here on Lake Martin and in both of these cases are no longer with us,” Ray said. “They’re now looking down on us from heaven as we prepare grounds for something very special. We’re going to do the best job possible so kids like the ones (the families) represent will have the time of their lives.”