PALS was founded in 2004 by three then-high school-aged students, Jason Toff and Josh Stein, from Allentown, Pennsylvania, and Jenni Newbury, a sibling and advocate from Hillsborough, New Jersey. The Program was conceived as an extension of a social integration club that Jason and Josh had started at their high school. For its first summer, Camp PALS welcomed a group of 16 individuals with Down syndrome and 16 counselors to Cabrini College for a week of fun and friends.
Over the past nine summers, the organization has grown annually, hosting over 280 campers and counselors in 2012. Last summer, PALS welcomed a new Program: Camp PALS San Francisco. This sparked a new era of PALS Programs in cities across the country. This summer, look for Camp PALS programs in Chicago, Princeton & Georgetown!
The PALS Organization aims to offer young adults with Down syndrome the best experience of their year while providing a variety of new opportunities, exciting activities, and a chance to become more independent. We strive to create an impassioned community: campers, counselors, parents, and friends who encourage each other and grow together. We also attempt to make a meaningful impact in the Down syndrome community at large (see our values).
The Executive Board manages the direction and vision of the PALS Organization. Individuals serve on the executive board for renewable two-year terms. These board members supervise each of the PALS Programs, approve overall budgets and expansion plans, and manage the evaluation, finance, and technology needs of the organization as a whole. Our current Executive Board members are Jenni Newbury (chair), Jason Toff, Jess Trief, Timbo Shriver, and Brandon Glyck. You can email the Board at firstname.lastname@example.org.
All programs are supported by the PALS Advisory Committee, a group of former counselors who oversee the organization's continued development and impact in the larger Down syndrome community. Board members serve one-year, renewable terms. Our current board members are: Alex Urquhart (chair), Jordan McCollough, Rob McRae, Darris Lee, Ivan Gonzalez, Angela Balacco, Laura Karp, Adele Wilhelm and Katharine Cunningham. You can contact the Advisory Committee at email@example.com.