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."
DRAGONFLY FOREST HISTORICAL TIMELINE
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
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
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 Philadelphia Freedom Valley YMCA and Camp Speers