Revisiting Dreamscape 2013: Akron Rotary Camp

By: Nalee Vang, Communications Intern

Spring has sprung, which could mean many things here at KAB: clean-up projects, volunteer programs and fundraisers. One event, in particular, involves an ultimate outdoor makeover. For 11 years, the Dreamscape Makeover Raffle has served as our annual fundraiser to support our public land beautification program, Flowerscape. Valued at $10,000, the lucky winner of this raffle receives a front or back yard makeover professionally designed by talented local landscapers.

Dream01In 2013, Ivette Immormino of Rocky River drew the winning ticket but transferred the prize back to the KAB Board of Directors and ultimately to the Akron Rotary Camp at Rex Lake. Running the camp for emotionally and physically challenged children is camp director, Dan Reynolds. At the time, the camp was just finishing up their capital campaign renovations, making it the perfect timing for an outdoor makeover! The gateway at the Akron Rotary Camp

dreamscape 2013went from a grassy, dirt drainage ditch to a large flower bed planted with annuals and perennials, outlined by landscaping rocks to improve the water runoff issue at the camp. Topsoil and compost were donated and blown into the beds and after prepping the two large new planting beds and crews from a canoe rack with lumber were donated by National Industrial Lumber Company. The canoe rack served a larger purpose of freeing up the picnic tables in the pavilion at the camp, which were housing the canoes when not in use. Now, the children can safely put the canoes away and launch the canoes from a new beach the crews added. Lead landscaper was Nick Roth of Nick’s Landscaping of Ohio, LLC, who transformed the camp into a more functional, accessible environment. You can find more details on the makeover here.

Recently, we got in touch with Dan to talk about the Akron Rotary Camp’s Dreamscape experience and what it’s like today:

Nalee Vang: What was your initial reaction after finding out that you won the Dreamscape Makeover?
Dan Reynolds:
We were extremely grateful!  As a grassroots nonprofit in the community, we put most of our resources into serving our kids.

NV: It was really cool to see the transformation in the ‘before’ and ‘after’ pictures.  What was your favorite part of the makeover?
DR: The best part of our makeover was creating some functional spaces for our campers.  Our new boating area not only looks good but works well too.

NV: How has the makeover changed the Akron Rotary Camp?
The makeover happened at the tail end of our capital campaign renovations. We had some great new indoor spaces for our campers but the area that was made-over was very overgrown.  Now, we look great inside and out!  Most importantly, we have another accessible area at camp where we can work with our campers to help them accomplish something that they never thought they could do or would have the opportunity to do.

Dream02NV: Has there been any challenges keeping up with the renovations?
DR: Most of the areas are low maintenance and have required little TLC.  With the help of volunteers, we are able to mulch and sand our dreamscape design annually.

NV: How was the reaction from the kids and/or staff after revealing the makeover?
Everyone loved it!  Our campers are always so happy to see something new and different at camp. The staff is always grateful when we make accommodations that can help make their jobs easier.

NV: Looking back at the whole process, what are some reflections or thoughts you have that you want to share with us? Were you pleased with the results?
We are very pleased with the results and have identified future areas for the next Dreamscape. I just really want to thank Keep Akron Beautiful and all of the volunteers that made the project possible.  I know it is a big commitment every year to do a yard make-over but it means so much to the property owners and in our case, our campers, staff and camp volunteers.  It’s a shot of self-esteem and pride.

NV: What is some advice for future winners? Would you recommend purchasing a ticket to for the Dreamscape Makeover?
Of course, everyone should buy a ticket for a chance to win – no matter where you live! Advice to future winners: have fun and enjoy the process.  Have an idea for what you want to fix up or change and then let the designers work their magic. It’s a blast!

Dream03It was so much fun to have worked with the Akron Rotary Camp in 2013 on their well-deserved Dreamscape makeover. Here at KAB, we are thrilled to see the kids enjoying camp after the big transformation! Remember, this could be you!

Buy your tickets to enter the drawing for your very own Dreamscape makeover NOW!