Aaron’s Acres began in 1998 as a one-week long camp for 11 children in Lancaster, PA. Today, they’ve grown to include over 200 participants for 12 weeks of camp spanning 3 counties. They also have a School Year Program. The overall goal of Aaron’s Acres is to connect children of all different abilities and provide their families with opportunities to also gather and enjoy recreational activities together.
What makes Aaron’s Acres unique is that they focus on providing therapeutically based age-appropriate recreational programs directed by specially trained and certified staff to individuals with special needs ranging from ages 5-21 and their families. They aim to create a supportive environment that enhances socialization and communication skills—offering emotional, educational, and recreational support to the entire family.
Their services are important because they create a safe environment for children with special needs to be part of social activities away from their parents. The programs provide a space for children to learn new things, interact with peers, and improve their independence.
First Nonprofit’s Contribution
First Nonprofit awarded Aaron’s Acres with $7150.00 to upgrade their technology systems as a means to foster efficiency and, ultimately, growth of the organization. This included the purchase of new laptop computers, a video creator kit, two cameras, and tech training/ support.
Goal of the Grant
Updated computers help the staff manage and coordinate their programs in an efficient and organized manner. The cameras serve to capture the memories made over the course of the camp, so that campers and families can look back and enjoy keepsakes from their experience. Footage and photos also serves as promotional material that the organization can use to show new prospective clients examples of what the camp entails. Lastly, the tech training for the administrative team ensures that they can maximize their use of the customer relationship management program.
This solution made it possible for Aaron’s Acres to move forward in sharing their story with more people within the community as well as providing technology and support to staff for our various programs.
In addition to the impact that this grant had on programs, the money that the organization would have used on tech updates was allocated to scholarships to families in need of financial assistance. As a result of receiving the grant, they were also able to designate other funds to provide special entertainment during the camp program. And, of course, securing funds from the grant paid for necessary equipment for the organization to ensure growth moving forward.
There have been many benefits as a result of receiving the grant. Staff and volunteers were able to take pictures of the participants daily in order to capture them as they rode horses, played kickball, interacted with therapy dogs, and participated in music therapy. Parents reported that they love seeing these pictures as they don’t have the opportunity to see their children in action at camp. Having good quality footage from camp improved presentations at businesses, schools, and community organizations—ultimately providing true pictures of what Aaron’s Acres does for children and young adults who have developmental disabilities. Lastly, by having training and technological support, Administrative Team members will have a strong knowledge base of the CRM and be able to access pertinent information as programs and donor bases expand.