A Thank You to the Abrams Foundation

For the sixth year in a row, the Abrams Foundation has once again stepped up in support of the Michigan Out-of-Doors Youth Camp. The MOOD Youth Camp has greatly benefited from the partnership with the Abrams Foundation board. Over the six-year, span more than $105,000 has gone to improve the Cedar Lake facility and enhance programming and equipment at camp.

The Abrams Foundation is a family Foundation endowed by the late Talbert “Ted” Abrams and his wife Leota in the 1960s.   They are proud to remain a Foundation whose Board of Directors is staffed 100% by members of Ted and Leota’s family, now consisting of the third and fourth generations.

Shane Patzer (board member for the Abrams Foundation) poses with the 2018 Camp brochure with former Camp Director Tyler Butler.

The Foundation initially focused its support on science and education projects in Michigan. With time, their multigenerational board has expanded into very diverse areas of grant making. They continue to honor Ted and Leota’s generous and innovative spirit, they are also committed to the development of new partnerships.  Each Board member has developed new relationships based on personal areas of interest, and the Board is invested in each grant it makes. MOOD Youth Camp is lucky to be one of the interests! We owe this foundation a large thank you!

Throughout the relationship, funds are split between facility improvements and program creation. When funding was hard to come by for tough projects, the Abrams Foundation was willing to come through.  Something extremely necessary to a functioning camp is bathrooms. However, sponsoring the funds to renovate bathrooms may night be as fancy as sponsoring a building like the art building. Understanding the importance of bathrooms and knowing sometimes the most important work is not always the most glamorous the Abrams Foundation made the difference. All three bathrooms at the camp were renovated with funds provided by the foundation.

On the program side, the Abrams Foundation has been instrumental in providing startup funds to allow us to develop and implement new programs at camp.  These programs focus on helping kids build technical outdoors skills. Our fur harvesting camp was a result of this partnership as well as our forest and wetland ecology programs. They have also contributed to the redesign of our hunter safety curriculum. More recently, the Foundation has provided us with the ability to start a backpacking curriculum that went into the curriculum in 2018.  We have also used funds from this group to install a sea lamprey tank and expand our invasive species programs.

Finally, the Foundation has been instrumental in helping us acquire camp equipment. We have bought kayaks, archery equipment, funded range improvements, radios, and even the tanks and accessories for the lampreys because of this partnership.

The Abrams Foundation understands there is more to camp than just getting kids outside. Shane Patzer, the board member we work closest with, has a passion for connecting and engaging people with the natural resources.  Back in 2013, he decided to make an investment in our camp and his help and the Foundation’s encouragement has been essential in helping us expand our facility and grow our program. This weekend we will once again meet with the Abrams Foundation and all of the other organizations they sponsor, to celebrate the success of 2018. We plan to kick off 2019 with a focus on continuing to engage kids and adults in conservation and carry on the spirit and legacy of Talbert and Leota Abrams.

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