By Jeffrey V. Smith
Easter Seals Colorado is once again teaming-up with Tommyknocker Brewery, Raquelitas Tortillas and Food Services of America Loveland for the annual “A Perfect Pairing” event, April 22 from 6-9 p.m. at Rocky Mountain Village in Empire.
The casual event includes six stations with food prepared by local chefs and paired with Tommyknocker beers. In addition to the endless food and drink, the night also includes entertainment by improve comedian magician Dennis Michael and guest speaker LaShay Canady, a mother of a camper. There will also be both a silent and live auction. Ultimately, the evening’s goal is to raise $25,000 to send more than 20 campers to a week of fun at summer camp. Participants must be 21 or older.
Tickets to “A Perfect Paring,” which costs $50 in advance and $100 at the door, include unlimited visits to food stations serving shrimp scampi, skirt steak street tacos, smoked chicken drumstick, herb roasted pork loin, hearty vegetable stew, crab mac n’ cheese and bread pudding l’orange. A different Tommyknocker Brewery beer will be paired with each station, and are also included.
Rocky Mountain Village is regarded as one of the top Easter Seals camps in the country. It is fully accessible and used by more than 800 children and adults with disabilities during the summer camp sessions. Campers enjoy swimming, fishing, overnight camping, outdoor cooking, travel camp, day trips, arts and crafts, sports and recreation, hiking, dances, music and drama, horse-back riding and riding the zip-line.
During the non-summer season, camp provides approximately seven “R&R Weekends.” Campers come up to Rocky Mountain Village to get away and relax while giving their families a short rest from care-giving. During the off season, the camp functions as a rental and retreat facility utilized by a variety of groups and individuals.
Now in its fourth year, “A Perfect Pairing” came out of the enthusiasm of Tommyknocker Brewery’s Larry Nemnich to help send people to Rocky Mountain Village Camp.
“Easter Seals first contacted Tommyknocker Brewery four or five years ago—Larry Nemnich in particular—and asked him if the brewery would like to get involved with Easter Seals and Rocky Mountain Village Camp as a sponsor, donor and/or supporter,” Event Coordinator Erin Otto said. “We asked if Tommyknocker would be interested in helping us with our Annual Summer Prom, and without any hesitation, he said ‘of course’ and provided appetizers and root beer floats for campers and counselors.”
When Camp Program Director Krasimir Koev spoke to Nemnich after the event, he said, “I want to do more, I want to help more.” According to Otto, he was “blown away” after he saw the level of care that was required and given by Easter Seals counselors and staff to “each and every” camper. “This made Larry want to create an event and fundraise specifically for “camperships” for adults and children with disabilities. And, the Perfect Pairing was born,” she said.
By attending “A Perfect Pairing” you can help Easter Seals Colorado and the Rocky Mountain Village serve their mission. Ticket prices are tax deductible and all proceeds will support Easter Seals Colorado in its efforts to send children and adults with disabilities to Rocky Mountain Village Camp. More than 50 campers have been given an opportunity to attend camp via scholarship thanks to proceeds from the first two years of the event. “[This is] an opportunity they may not have had without the help of the community,” Otto said.
Easter Seals Colorado is one of the oldest non-profits in the state, established in 1926. It has been the leading nonprofit provider of services for children and adults with developmental disabilities, physical disabilities and other special needs. It provides direct services to about 10,000 people yearly through corporate and individual donations and grants. All money raised in Colorado stays in Colorado to support programs for people in our state.
Last year more than 800 campers experienced a “week of magic” at Rocky Mountain Village. One camper said, “I can’t find the words to express just how much I truly appreciate the camp experience, it was the first place that I ever felt as though I belonged. Rocky Mountain Village staff accepts the campers for who they are, they focus on their abilities and strengths, rather than their disabilities and challenges—it is a beautiful and refreshing approach to life.”
Megan, a 10-year-old girl who was a first-time camper at Easter Seals Rocky Mountain Village, had the time of her life meeting new friends and spending time with her camp counselor, according to Otto. When her mother, Debbie, spoke about Megan’s first camp experience, she said, “Megan was lit up like a light bulb” in a way her mother had never seen before.
4th Annual “A Perfect Pairing”
April 22 • 6 p.m. • $55/$105
Easter Seals Rocky Mountain Village
2644 Alvarado Road, Empire • 303-233-1666
Originally published in the April 2017 issue of the MMAC Monthly