It was a star-studded evening at the LightHouse Gala on Saturday, August 19. Our gala attendees showed up dressed to the nines ready to raise funds (and paddles!) for the rebuild and re-imagination of Enchanted Hills Camp.
As guests arrived, they were greeted with champagne and our signature gala cocktail, an Enchantini, as they perused the Silent Auction and caught surprise glimpses of framed legacy Enchanted Hills Camp photos, some dating back to the Rose Resnick days of the 1950s, sprinkled throughout the cocktail reception area in delicate gold frames.
When the doors to the Grand Ballroom opened, our guests were dazzled with twinkling bistro lights, fresh pine garlands adorning the tables and entry ways, and the rejuvenating scent of lush trees and crisp air that instantly transports your senses back to Enchanted Hills Camp. That night, the Westin St. Francis Hotel was the place to be!
LightHouse Gala Committee Co-chairs Kathryn Webster and Laura Allen, and LightHouse CEO Sharon (and dapper guide dog Pilot, dressed in a doggy-tuxedo) began the evening with a warm welcome, thanking our guests and gala sponsors for their time and generosity as we kicked off the evening’s program.
When keynote speaker Rebecca Alexander took the stage, she joyfully led our gala guests in a camp song, bringing the whimsy and silliness of summer camp to 350 audience members as they echoed her back with, “I said a boom-chicka-boom!” Rebecca told her story growing up with Usher Syndrome, her love for summer camp and passion for inclusive and accessible experiences for the blind, low vision, and deafblind community.
As Tony Fletcher, EHC Camp Director, took the stage, he told the story of camp—about our start with Rose Resnick in 1950, our strength, and of our deeply-rooted community, then he spoke of the destruction from the 2017 Napa wildfires. A video played on the screen above the stage, and as images of a burnt and devastated redwood forest were shown, Tony told a story of resilience, of courage, and of determination.
As the moving and heartfelt words from Tony Fletcher hung in the air, we kicked off the live auction, led by auctioneer extraordinaire Greg Quiroga. The air became electric as the friendly (although at times, perhaps a bit fierce!) competition brewed in the room and auction paddles shot to the sky! As paddles raised, so did the funds to rebuild a beautiful, accessible, inclusive dream retreat for the blind community!
The evening ended with a beautiful musical performance by visually impaired singer-songwriter, Meghan Downing. As Meghan strummed her guitar, her angelic voice sang melodies reminiscent of the comfort and ease like the end of a perfect Enchanted Hills Camp day, warm and cozy around the campfire.
In total, the gala raised $680,000 for Enchanted Hills Camp! We are overwhelmed with gratitude for the incredible love and support that was shown to EHC and the blind community. We’d like to specially thank Ben Jai for his unbelievably generous donation of $100,000 and a second significant donor who gave an additional $90,000 to the building of the Redwood Grove Theatre! Accompanied by other special Gold and Silver donors, over $300,000 was raised for the rebuild of the theatre.
The construction of Redwood Grove will begin in mid-fall of this year! As construction of the theatre and other dream projects are underway, we will keep all of our friends, supporters, and campers updated!
As Enchanted Hills Camp approaches our 75th anniversary in 2025, we invite you to imagine the beautiful new space we are creating for generations of blind, low vision and deafblind campers to come. And who knows? The next gala just might take place in the heart of EHC as we celebrate growth, resilience, aspiration, and three quarters of a century of excellence in Summer 2025!