Rome’s Pine Tree Camp’s Dirigo Experience program has received a $20,000 grant from the Evelyn S. and K.E. Barrett Foundation.

The foundation funds organizations that benefit children in need. The camp is a program of Pine Tree Society, which is headquartered in Bath.

“This program fills a real gap in services,” said Pine Tree Camp director, Dawn Willard-Robinson, according to a news release from Erin Rice, the society’s chief development officer. “Most deaf youth have never had the chance to meet another deaf person their own age. The Dirigo Experience breaks that cycle by bringing Deaf and hard-of-hearing young people together at Pine Tree Camp for a life-changing experience.”

The immersive program consists of a mixture of outdoor activities, team building and facilitated discussions, and is designed to help youth build interpersonal skills, learn how to resolve conflict, navigate communication barriers and increase confidence and self-esteem.

“These are all important tools to have as they grow older and navigate life independently as adults,” said Joshua Seal, director of Pine Tree Society’s Interpreting Services. “We want to invest in the future by stepping up to help Deaf youth develop a sense of connection and community now.”

Due to the support of the Barrett Foundation, Pine Tree Camp’s Dirigo Experience will be able to provide a combination of in-person and virtual connections all year long for deaf and hard-of-hearing youth statewide.


The Dirigo Experience, designed for children ages 11-15, is limited to 30 participants. The first session in 2023 is scheduled for Friday through Monday, Feb. 17-20. Registration is required, and full scholarships are available. To register, visit

On Wednesday, Jan. 11, at 7 p.m., parents can join a virtual info session hosted on Zoom by Dawn Willard-Robinson and Joshua Seal. To register, visit



Check out other upcoming area events!

Comments are not available on this story.

filed under: