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25 Reviews
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February 23, 2010

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February 23, 2010

I barely know where to begin. When I was in high school, I’d been intrigued by radio advertisements for the Appel Farm Arts and Music Festival, but was not able to attend the event until I was in college. When we finally made the journey, as my mother, stepbrother, and I exited Route 55 and began to wind our way back toward Elmer, I immediately sensed the energy that had drawn me to the radio advertisements from years before. We had a fantastic day at the festival and during that experience, I realized why I had been so compelled to visit: this was a place I was meant to be a part of. After college graduation, endeavoring to find employment, I learned that Appel Farm offered internships. I applied and was eventually offered the spring internship position. When I moved in there at the end of December 2000, I immediately felt connected. The very grounds at Appel Farm radiate with artistic inspiration, cultivated by years of collaboration, creativity, and a personal relationship with the community. The internship provided me with the great privilege of contributing to both the events and outreach programming at Appel Farm. I was involved with the planning and operation of musical performances and theatre presentations and I traveled with professional fine artists, dance troupes, and musicians, who were sponsored by Appel Farm, to share their talent and enthusiasm with students across southern New Jersey. I was fortunate to witness, firsthand, the impact that Appel Farm programs have on the audiences and participants they reach and I felt incredibly proud to be a part of these amazing achievements. The cultural enrichment of the programs was really all that I needed to feel a sense of purpose in the work I was doing, but I was rewarded further by a significant leap forward in my self-confidence, not just as a person but as an artist (I am an illustrator and songwriter). My internship experience was so fulfilling that I decided to stay at Appel Farm for the Summer Arts Camp program. The camp sessions were astounding. Artists from all over the world traveled to NJ to become bunk counselors and arts instructors. Between the staff and the kids attending the camp, there was so much talent and creative energy, it was almost literally uplifting. Again, I was so affected by the nature of the artistic atmosphere (which seems completely inherent at Appel Farm) and everything I’d learned that I returned to the camp program for two other summers in the following years. In between summers, I also had the opportunity to work as a Box Office Assistant and as the Conference Center coordinator, two positions that continued to introduce me to Appel Farm’s diversity as an organization. *** I think what I’ve written so far could give readers a sense of how important these experiences have been for me, but I have yet to mention the most amazing aspect of Appel Farm: the people. It was so easy to find success at Appel Farm because I was surrounded by individuals who were smart, dedicated, and supportive. They were smart because they knew when to offer guidance and when to delegate responsibility or trust my own initiative, dedicated because every single person contributed outside of their department, working extra hours whenever necessary, and supportive because they respected each other (not just for their roles in the organization, but personally) and made efforts to understand the needs and concerns of the whole team. While it has been a few years now since I’ve visited, I have been told, not only that I am always welcome, but that I will always be a part of the Appel Farm family, and I absolutely know that this is true. It is a connection I will value my entire life.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

classrooms, auditoriums, music venues, art studios, theatres, galleries, and on-site workshops (to name a few).

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

that it's very existence gives me momentum and helps keep me inspired as an artist and musician.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

dedicated, talented, fun, and welcoming.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

continue to enrich the lives of those fortunate enough to experience Appel Farm programming, while expanding and reaching out to artists, audiences and communities in new ways (an on-going mission that I know this organization pursues with enthusiasm).

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 22, 2010

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February 22, 2010

Growing up in the area, I knew Appel Farm was summer camp, children's theater productions and the music festival, but it's much more. They offer a variety of classes for both children and adults. They even offer birthday parties for the kids. What better way to let parents know what fun things are available, while encouraging a child's sense of creativity. This may be just the spark it takes to interest a future appreciation of the arts, while celebrating a birthday party to remember. Five years ago, I signed up for a pottery class. One 10 week session and I was hooked. The friendly and talented staff create a atmosphere of encouragement, fun, and great instruction. It's been a rewarding experience. Pottery class has been a mini "therapy session" of sorts! It's relaxing, while being lost in the moment, working on something I really enjoy, and creating something I can also share with others.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing how much I've improved in my work and being able to share it with others.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

expressing myself in a new way.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every week

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 22, 2010

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February 22, 2010

I was a member of the staff one summer, teaching about radio and learning about the other arts and music from a talented and committed international faculty. Wonderful concerts by students and guest artists contribute to wonderful memories. Also enjoyed the annual summer festival with major names performing in a truly intimate environment. The camp has grown and thrives in these difficult times because of a quality program and a stellar leadership team. Bravo Appel Farm!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing kids grow and develop skills.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

attending the summer music and arts festival

Ways to make it better...

I had earned more as a staffer.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2008

February 22, 2010

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February 22, 2010

I have had the honor of performing at, and attending many programs at Appel Farm and find the intimate setting to be ideal for enjoyment of the roots music that I love. The annual outdoor festival is one of the highlights of my year and I am always pleased to announce upcoming events at the farm on my radio program. The high quality of presentations is greatly appreciated. Jim Albertson,Down Jersey Radio

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Always friendly and helpful, especially during the festival when so many people are needed to ensure the safety and comfort of attendees.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 21, 2010

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February 21, 2010

I've been involved in Appel Farm in two very different ways, as the father of two girls who ADORED the summer arts camp, and as a performer who has visited perhaps a dozen times over the years performing childern's environmental theater. My two girls grew up in the summer camp, majoring in theater and being exposed to a phenomenal staff from around the world, original plays written by that staff, and other very talented kids from many places. My oldest, now a high school senior, is president of her school's acting troupe and just finished directing Agatha Christie's The Mousetrap; her leadership in high school is without question an outgrowth of her time at AF. My performances for children and family groups at AF are always delightful; the audiences are thrilled to have live children's theater, as AF serves a vast swath of southern NJ that otherwise would have very little opportunity for bringing children to live theater. It is a very rural, underserved community that counts on AF for these kinds of experiences. As a performer, these have been some of the nicest, most sincere families I have ever met--coming into the audience after a show to chat with kids and parents is always a joy. In short, AF is a great institution serving a vital need for a large community.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

presenting live performances in its family theater program, and sending my daughters to its summer camp.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

watching my children grow and flourish on stage-- and in life.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Unconditionally wonderful, talented and inspiring.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

upgrade many of the aging buildings to become a true state of the art performing arts center

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

February 19, 2010

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February 19, 2010

Over the years Appel Farm has been involved with my school (while a principal) and my school districts (as a superintendent) in a number of arts-education joint projects. Appel Farm staff has helped design artist-in-residence programs, has involved my students with artists at Appel Farm, has co-written grants with us, has overseen arts installations and a host of other programs that has made the arts live for literally hundreds of children. Also, our theater program held their senior student directed plays at Appel Farm and enjoyed that venue. AF has been amazingly supportive of many public school programs and has fostered its mission among students in our community. One installation was of student-made tiles that represented the community, another was of deer sculptures. Theater and dance academy students were able to work with a professional mime artist in a residency housed at AF. The list of shared ventures is quite long. In every program, AF has exhibited the highest standards of artistic competence and professionalism.

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

seeing children in my school district become excited about the arts and grow through their participation.

Ways to make it better...

If I had to make changes to this organization, I would...

I really can't think of any.

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the interaction with Appel Farm professional staff.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

professional, passionate about the arts, helpful, smart.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

build a new theater, a new outdoor stage area, a new green and sustainable office building, and do A LOT more arts outreach in the schools

Ways to make it better...

there had been more money available to extend residencies.

In my opinion, the biggest challenges facing this organization are...

funding in a tough economy.

One thing I'd also say is that...

while I am not artistically inclined nor talented, I have personally grown from my interaction with AF.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every six months

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 19, 2010

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February 19, 2010

My daughter attended Appel Farm Summer Camp for three seasons (summers of 2004, 2005 and 2006). I writing to you to let you know about the positive long-term impact Appel had on her life. Prior to sending her to camp, she was a middle school student who hadn’t found like-minded kids with similar interests as she. My daughter has always been a bright student and a deep thinker. In addition to her thirst for knowledge was her passion of theater arts. She is one who marches to the beat of her own drum and chooses not to submit to peer pressure. While she had plenty of opportunities to attend parties and have friends in school, she chose not to play the typical middle school games, and became a bit of a loner. So, we decided sending her to an overnight camp for the arts just might be the ticket. At Appel Farm, not only was she able to enjoy her love of theater and perform in a theatrical production each summer, but she found a group of kids that became her forever friends. It was truly a life-changing experience for her. She bonded instantly with this group. Often they would have philosophical discussions about life, debate about important social issues, and support each other in their quest for the lead roles or having their photos exhibited in the photography shows. Because she found this group of friends, she developed self-confidence, and realized that she indeed is not a loner, but someone who requires friendships that support her, not try to tear her down. We are fortunate to live in the cell phone and computer age, so these girls still are “best friends”, even though they have not been campers together for a few years. They have a daily Facebook chat thread going and talk to each other about their relationship triumphs and tragedies, their acceptances or rejections from college, and in general, their day to day well being. They turn to each other in the good times and bad. Often I will catch Jolie watching a “Skype” video from one of her friends that wants to discuss her wonderful day or engrossed in a phone conversation with them, trying to counsel them on the “crisis du jour”. While most don’t live nearby, each year they set aside at least three specific weekends to get together as a group. They also get together when they can one on one or in smaller groups. They have been quite disappointed that this year has been tougher to get the gang together because of the time commitment they have had with college visits. But regardless of the distance between them, they are always there for each other. The chat thread on the computer lives on. We are truly grateful to Appel Farm for not only providing a warm environment that promotes self expression, but for the lasting friendships that have come from the summers spent there.

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What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

the lasting friendships my child has gained from Appel Farm.

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

February 19, 2010

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February 19, 2010

I was a camper for several years at the Appel Farm Arts and Music summer camp, and it was honestly one of the most enriching experiences of my adolescence. The farm has a warm, welcoming, tight-knit community, with inspiring and talented counselors and directors. There was such a variety of areas to explore: I remember learning multiple musical instruments, experimenting with video software I would never have otherwise had access to, getting lessons in stage fighting (of all things!), blowing glass and making glass beads, and learning how to fire my own pottery in a wood-fired noborigama kiln. As a young artist, Appel Farm provided me with the opportunity to learn and experiment with things I would never have been able to do otherwise. And it was such a creative, nonthreatening environment. I still get homesick for it!

The Great!

I've personally experienced the results of this organization in...

I discovered my passion for pottery!

More feedback...

What I've enjoyed the most about my experience with this nonprofit is...

As a young artist, I was able to experiment with a variety of different mediums that I would not have had access to otherwise - like video, glassblowing, and pottery.

The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Really welcoming, kind, and inspiring people. The counselors are from all over, which can be really interesting.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Make the entire world hold hands and sing!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2006

February 19, 2010

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February 19, 2010

Appel Farm is an amazing organization. I have volunteered for the annual music festival a number of times. The organization has a knack for bringing in some truly talented musicians - I've yet to see an act at this festival that I didn't walk away loving. I have also donated to Appel Farm's programs in the past. As an educator, I wish there were more organizations out there that worked to help young students realize their artistic and creative skills in the way that Appel Farm does.

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If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

help tons of young students realize their artistic and creative talents!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About once a year

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2009

February 19, 2010

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February 19, 2010

Appel Farm is the oasis in the cultural desert that is southwestern New Jersey. They are the primary stronghold for arts experiences in their corner of the state. The creative and expansive programs provide opportunities for arts education, arts appreciation, and creative self-exploration to thousands of children, adults, and families who participate annually as students, artists, teachers and audience members. The Community Outreach programs serve elementary, middle and high schools in Camden, Gloucester, Cumberland and Salem Counties. Indeed, the exceptional arts programs presented by Appel Farm are often the only arts programming offered in any of these schools. The concert series, family matinees and annual Arts & Music Festival bring nearly 10,000 people to this remote rural location to revel in hearing and seeing the finest musicians and theatres for young audiences in a bucolic and peaceful setting. The Appel Farm staff is seasoned and superb. They operate like a well-oiled machine but are never willing to rest on their laurels; programs are constantly being developed in response to the needs of their underserved community. Expansion and innovation are woven into Appel Farm’s way of thinking and there are always new and exciting elements to their programming. The usual hue and cry about the lack of funding in southern New Jersey is not heard from the Appel Farm staff. They have effectively attracted funding from corporations, foundations, and individuals throughout the region and beyond. Thanks to their nationally-renowned summer camp, the earned to unearned revenue ratio at Appel Farm is enviable, and their financial position is strong. Appel Farm is an outstansing arts organization and incredibly worthy of winning this distinction as a Great Nonprofit!

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The kinds of staff and volunteers that I met were...

Superb. Consummate professionals.

If this organization had 10 million bucks, it could...

Build a new theatre (a long-time dream of theirs), refurbish many of their facilities, expand its arts programming throughout the region, offer more scholarships to their outstanding summer arts camp and pay their staff what they're worth!

How frequently have you been involved with the organization?

About every month

When was your last experience with this nonprofit?

2010

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