25 Stories: John Adams

One Heartland Board Member (2007 – 2017)

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John (left) with founder Neil Willenson (right) and other supporters.


John Adams first heard about One Heartland over ten years ago when a friend invited him to our Camp Hollywood HEART in California. There he met founder Neil Willenson along with staff and campers.  John recalls greeting one special camper:

“I put my hand out to shake hers and she said, ‘Oh we don’t do that here, we just give hugs.’  At that point I knew it was a really special place, not just a regular summer camp.”

Right after that first visit to camp, John decided to join the One Heartland Board of Directors, where he has served until just a few weeks ago when his back-to-back terms ended. He has been to Camp Hollywood HEART every year and visited our Willow River location a number of times throughout the years.  John says he has been fortunate to meet so many amazing people (staff, volunteers and campers) over the years.  “For me, the children of One Heartland help me keep my own life in perspective.  They are climbing much tougher mountains on a daily basis than most of us ever will.  Their perseverance and positive attitudes remind me of that old cliché when I feel like my world is crumbling around me:  “Don’t sweat the small stuff…and it’s all small stuff.”

John will always be a One Heartland supporter because of a simple truth he realized during his first visit: “One Heartland creates an environment where kids can simply just be kids.  There is no judgement – well, unless there is a relay race across the pool!”