A new campaign is offering folks a new path to support Harmony Adoptions as they transform Camp Montvale into the Harmony Family Center at Montvale.
A Path Home is a new campaign that will debut during the Harmony Homecoming on Saturday, Oct. 15, at the former Montvale camp.
Joy Bishop of Maryville is supporting the campaign. “A Path Home is an opportunity to step up and support Harmony while remembering people we care about,” said Bishop. “So many people have been campers here at Montvale, and they came with their families over the years,” she said. “We thought, what a wonderful opportunity! People could give them as gifts in honor or in memory of others.”
Bishop said it is an opportunity to make money for Harmony to support families who would want to stay at the facility, either one night, a weekend or over five days.
“It is an opportunity honor or remember a loved one by putting his or her name on the stone,” she said. “It will be a special kind of recognition whether for a gift, Christmas, graduation or any kind of celebration.”
Harmony Adoptions founder Pam Wolf said the stones can be purchased for $100, $250 and $500, matching up with the cost for a family to be at the camp. “A week-long therapeutic stay cost a family $500. A weekend is $250 and a day is $100,” she said. “Each stone represents an opportunity for a foster and adoptive family to have a therapeutic stay at Montvale.”
Bishop joked that the $500 stones certainly were “lasting gifts -- if you can lift them,” she said with a laugh.
Wolf replied, “Folks in my family are getting heavy gifts this year.”
Wolf said that when Tennessee children are adopted from foster care, finding a forever family is just the beginning of their journey of healing. The reason Harmony Adoptions is creating The Harmony Family Center at Montvale is to support these children and their adoptive families and to help them along the path to health and future well-being, she said.
Wolf and Bishop are asking the community to help by becoming a partner with Harmony Adoptions in creating the Family Center at Montvale. There are many steps in the adoption journey, and each donor’s stone will join many others as the symbol of a child’s path home to a secure, loving family and a hope-filled future, Wolf said.
Wolf said adoption has changed greatly over the past 20 years. Today, the children most in need of safe, permanent homes are older, the damage from abuse and neglect is more severe, and the scars left by emotional and physical traumas are deeper. As a result, adoptive families need more help than ever before, she said.
“At Harmony, we believe the most effective approach is to work with the entire family in a residential setting,” Wolf said. “Rather than sending a child in crisis away from the family to a residential treatment center, Harmony’s clinical staff will provide a range of therapies for both parents and children at Montvale, keeping the child in the safety of a loving family in an ideal setting for our families to learn, grow, and heal together.”
Wolf said the folks at Harmony wanted an opportunity for the community to support the effort to transform Camp Montvale. “So many people have a lasting connection with the camp. They have memories of going to camp, and Montvale has changed their life,” she said. “Montvale left a mark on their hearts, and this is an opportunity for them to leave a mark at Montvale and remember and honor that experience or honor somebody else.”
Bishop said she has lived in Blount County for 20 years. “People have told me about their experience at Camp Montvale, and they remember the camp and coming here with their parents,” she said. “It was such a part of the community.”
Bishop said that since the camp closed, many folks have made efforts to keep the camp in tact rather than see it developed.
People want Camp Montvale to stay here, and I think we finally have the opportunity with Harmony Adoptions that it will be here for the adoptive and foster parents as well as people in the community,”’ she said. “It seems to me the way Harmony is bringing the camp back is a gift to the community.”
Wolf said this campaign gives the community the chance to be involved. “Buying stones lets them leave that mark and lets them participate in the campaign, and it helps an adoptive or foster family have a stay here,” she said. “It lets them share their experience they have had and give that to a child or family who desperately needs it.”
Bishop and Wolf said Harmony plans to share Montvale with the community. “They can come out and rent a cabin and have a family reunion or a church gathering. It is not only for the work of Harmony, it is for the entertainment and recreation of the community,” she said. “We’ll restore these hiking trails. We have a lot of work to do. These stones not only will be a lasting thing for people to do, it will also bring in the funds to help with the restoration.”
Wolf said the stones will be placed at the old dining hall and the lodge. “We’re going to expand that and have an outdoor seating area, right there front and center so people can see them,” she said.
Bishop said folks in Blount County like lasting things.
“Which is why we chose stones,” Wolf said. “It is in keeping with what Camp Montvale is all about,” Wolf said.