CAMDEN — A nonprofit group made up of Camden residents is working hard to revitalize the town’s business and community resources.
Camden Comeback is a nonprofit organization dedicated to promoting and empowering the community of Camden, according to the group’s mission statement, as well as strengthening community cohesion and morale.
“Our goal is to unify the community through events that bring locals together, as well as to encourage visitors to enjoy our village,” Communications Chair Donna Cross said.
The group currently has a 12-member board which is making plans for a number of upcoming events and activities, including a Camden Comeback Jamboree to be held Sept. 14 at Camden Waterworks Park; a fall decorating contest, also taking place in September; a tour of various haunted sites in the village set for Oct. 18 and 19; and, in the coming year, a trivia night, Business Appreciation Day, a farmer’s market, and a Mother’s Day plant sale.
Cross got involved after attending a brainstorming session for the Camden Bicentennial Committee.
“I kept throwing out ideas, and eventually I was approached to join the bicentennial committee,” Cross said. That committee is what eventually evolved to become Camden Comeback.
According to board president Katie Duskey, the group’s main focus has always been about helping the community.
“If we had to narrow it down, I’d say it’s about bringing the community together,” Duskey said. “Community cohesion, whether that means bringing crucial businesses back into town, or just beautifying the community.”
Businesses the group would like to attract include bakeries, coffee shops, a yoga studio, and possibly office space for legal and medical professionals.
“We really want Camden to have a healthier presence in the county,” Duskey said. “We want to bring some of the same things to the table that Eaton and Lewisburg bring. And we want to breathe life into our historic districts. Those areas are very charming, very aesthetically pleasing, and they can bring a lot of income into a town.”
In order to do this, Duskey said, they need the same kind of strong community support those other towns enjoy.
“I would love to see the community come together and really nurture our town the same way,” Duskey said. “The more prosperous Camden is, the more we can contribute to the county.”
In addition to financial support, Duskey said, community involvement could take the form of Camden residents willing to donate their time and their talents to help Camden Comeback’s mission.
“We would love as much help as possible,” Duskey said. “Everything we do is volunteer-based.”
When it comes to her own reasons for being part of Camden Comeback, Duskey said her motivations are simple.
“It’s pretty selfish, if you think about it,” Duskey said. “I want a nice community for my kids. I want them to come back here and give me grandkids here.”
Communications Co-Chair Debbie Mason spoke a bit more about the group’s mission.
“We want to encourage a sense of community, a feeling of responsibility for each other,” Mason said. “That small-town sort of feel. We want everyone to have more like and respect for the people who run the town. We have so many good things going on here, and that’s what we want people to think about when they think of their hometown.”
“It’s an exciting time to be in our community,” Mason continued. “We’re at the cusp of something really big, I think.”