Guy Ellis

The DayBreak adult day camp is an opportunity for Grove seniors to enjoy socialization, recreation, and growth in a safe and friendly environment.

The DayBreak program runs from 10:00 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. every Tuesday. The non-denominational and not for profit group holds its sessions at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church at 555 East 3rd Street in Grove. It is staffed by qualified and trained volunteers, most with a lifetime of service to others.

DayBreak was designed for adults with minor handicaps or memory loss and for those who may live alone or for any senior with a desire for an enjoyable break from their everyday routines.

The program has been in operation for over one year and began slowly before picking up momentum.

“DayBreak has really developed since our first offering in October of 2007,” said Director Darlene McCullah. “We knew our program was needed in this area but we also realized that new ideas can sometimes be slowly received.”

After initializing their program, DayBreak volunteers sent out marketing letters to area businesses, community leaders, hospitals, doctors, and state representatives.

“Our letters were returned with a wonderful reception,” McCullah said. “Each one told of the need for our program and their promise of complete cooperation.”

The list of allies that DayBreak was able to enlist is an impressive one. The DayBreak Advisory Board is comprised of DOC Senior Services, Grove Senior Citizens, Inc., State Representative Doug Cox, State Senator Charles Wyrick, Grand Savings Bank Vice President Lendell Bass, the Alzheimer’s Association, Delaware County Health Department, and Grand Gateway Area Agency on Aging.

DayBreak began to build in numbers and so too did their offering of activities to participants.

“We’ve developed a great program of arts and crafts, games and singing for our sessions,” McCullah said.

“We’ve had various churches bring their children’s groups to perform, which our participants have really enjoyed,” McCullah continued. “We have a mascot, a dog named Cinderella, who visits every week.”

Through their associations on the Advisory Board DayBreak has also hosted a number of experts dealing in the area of gerontology who offer specific advice and instruction to campers and their caregivers upon subjects pertinent to aging and the situations associated with certain conditions.

Like any not for profit organization DayBreak has met with some funding challenges. The camp missed out on a grant from a local philanthropic trust due to a timing issue but the group plans to re-apply.

“We have a lot to learn about fundraising,” McCullah said.

The group received a $5,000 grant from the United Thank Offering of the Episcopal Church to help purchase a van to transport campers to and fro sessions.

“Unfortunately that wasn’t enough to buy a van,” McCullah said. “A proviso of the grant is that the funds must be used for transportation. We have requested permission to use the funds for Pelivan service.”

The challenges of starting an adult day camp from scratch have been daunting for the DayBreak volunteers. The need for their program, and the good that it can bring to area seniors, are part of what has driven the group to carry on.

“I feel we’ve learned a lot,” McCullah said of the DayBreak staffers. “We’ve faced some problems; some have been solved, and some have been wrestled with.

“We have a really good retention record,” she added. “If they visit us at least three times we have them hooked because we all have a good time. Campers and volunteers alike really enjoy the program.”