How It Started

Dragonfly Forest was conceived from a skiing experience that gave Laura Jansen, Founder, the chance to "feel just like everyone else."

A few years ago my husband and I were registering our five-year old son for his first skiing lessons.  When we finished registering, the instructor asked if I were going to ski as well.  Since I was sitting in a wheelchair I thought it obvious that I would not be skiing and I thought, "What a silly question."  When she asked why not, I pointed to the wheelchair.  The instructor suggested I look into their adaptive ski program.  I did, and by that afternoon I was suited up in borrowed ski clothes, strapped into a remarkable contraption called a bi-ski, on the chair lift and heading up the mountain.

I will never forget the extraordinary feeling I had as we stopped at the top of the mountain to enjoy our glorious surroundings.  As I looked at the magnificent view that unfolded around me, I turned to see other skiers admiring the same view.  At that moment, I thought, "This is it ... I am skiing, just like everyone else."

Out of Laura's experience on that mountain came the idea to create a summer camp for kids with serious illnesses - so they too could feel "just like everyone else."


2001 – Dragonfly Forest Incorporated as Possibilities for Kids

2002 – Possibilities for Kids begins to build its Board and Strategic Plan

2003 – Possibilities for Kids officially changes its name to Dragonfly Forest

2006 - Dragonfly's first camp session

2006 - Dragonfly's first camp session

2005 – Dragonfly Forest holds Dragonfly Away at two remote locations, this includes a pre-camp event at Citizens Bank Park, and a post-camp event at the Philadelphia Art Museum.

2006 – Dragonfly Forest holds first camp session (Hematology Session) in the Philadelphia area at Camp Green Lane

2007 – Dragonfly Forest moves from Camp to CAMPus and begins to host camp as Westtown School with session for Bleeding Disorders and Persistent Asthma

2008 – Dragonfly Forest runs initial Autism Camp Program as a trial

2009 – Dragonfly Forest begins full rollout of it Autism Summer Program

Photo of Eljabar Village at Camp Speers

Photo of Eljabar Village at Camp Speers

2010 – Dragonfly Forest begins to serve the Chromosome 22q11.2 Deletion Community

2013 – Dragonfly Forest moves to a new home at The National Christian Conference Center at InHill Farm

2016 – Dragonfly Forest moves to Eljabar Village at YMCA Camp Speers

2017 – Dragonfly Forest officially becomes a program of the Greater Philadelphia and Camp Speers YMCAs

2019 - Dragonfly Forest begins to serve the Trisomy 21 Community