Camp Venture, Inc. started in 1969 as a free summer camp for children with intellectual/developmental disabilities. The founding of this “venture of the heart”, however, had its early roots in a parent’s group called the Exceptional Child PTA.
Kathleen Lukens was elected the first president of the Exceptional Child PTA in 1967 and, under her leadership, the summer camp, Camp Venture, was founded two years later.
From its first days in the summer of 1969, Camp Venture was a community phenomenon. Bringing together not only kids with special needs and their families, the camp attracted volunteers from all walks of life who came to offer a few hours or a few dollars to this emerging grassroots effort.
By 1973, Mrs. Lukens and the other founding families were joined by John Murphy, a young political leader who would later be elected to the Rockland County Legislature and serve as the President of Camp Venture.
In 1976, Camp Venture opened the Venture Inn community residence, a groundbreaking program in Rockland County, the facility was among one of the first buildings constructed as a community-based group home in New York State.
Throughout the 1980s and up to the today, Venture has established itself as a leader in providing adult day and residential services in Rockland County. Always striving to improve the lives of the people we serve, Venture continues its tradition of innovation and care.
Looking forward, Venture prepares to celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2019, with plans for greater community involvement and ever adapting to the changing times, but our spirit as a grassroots, people-first organization will never change.