Blissful Cabin Retreat
UPDATE!!! After four months of 12 onsite, volunteer build weekends between May and September, 2013, as well as several more months of focused work prior to that of designing, planning and preparation by the Blissful Bedrooms Core Team, the Blissful Cabin has been manifested!!! In fact, this sweet “country clubhouse” has already been christened, filled and surrounded with the love and joyful expressions of the very people who inspired it!
During the weekend of 9/7-9/8/13, we held our Opening Retreat Weekend when a lucky group of awesome people were introduced to this special vacation haven and camped out at the Blissful Cabin Retreat for the very first time (see photos here). This included approximately 20 young individuals with a variety of disabilities and their family members, as well as the volunteers who dedicated their weekend to making sure the experience was wonderful, exciting and safe. The guests camped out in spacious tents arranged in a specially prepared, wheelchair accessible campsite just for this purpose with a path that is intimately connected to the cabin. Everyone had a phenomenal time and were deeply moved and positively affected by the experience, thus bringing this intense labor of love and the devoted volunteerism associated with the Blissful Cabin Retreat project full circle. Besides the amazing fun everyone had, this gathering served to absolutely validate that all of the hard work, perseverance and backing of so many altruistic individuals was well worth the effort and investment!!
Abundant thanks and gratitude to all of the volunteers and donors and supporters who contributed to this beautiful and miraculous outcome!! Words could never express how grateful we are to all of the individuals who partnered with us on this charitable project and who contributed physically and/or financially towards building the Blissful Cabin Retreat.
There are many heroes associated with the Blissful Cabin Retreat project who went above and beyond to make it happen, but if we had to pick the one shining champion of this undertaking, it would without a doubt have to be Blissful Bedrooms Core Team Member/Master Carpenter and the Blissful Cabin Retreat Design/Construction Leader, Adam Seim. He took responsibility for so many crucial roles associated with this project from the very beginning to the very end. He stepped out of his comfort zone on a routine basis to bring this project to completion, facing many novel and uncertain situations. He drove 100+ miles up to the Catskills every Friday afternoon, after a long week of work in NYC, including several evenings spent at home preparing for this project, to work 16-hour work days building this cabin, leaving late Sunday night to drive 3+ hours home, only to do the very same thing the following weekend. He sacrificed rest, leisure activities, his own personal interests and precious time with his family during his Spring and Summer of 2013 to see this project through, and he did this all with a smile and upbeat, positive attitude. Everyone who knows Adam is well aware of his sharp intellect and superb carpentry talents and skills, and if anyone could pull off such an ambitious project, most would certainly be very confident in placing their bets on him to succeed. However, this accomplishment becomes even more admirable and awe-inspiring when you realize that this is the first cabin Adam has ever built and it is unequivocally a masterful work of architecture and craftsmanship! Words and actions fall short of honoring Adam’s loyal commitment and steadfast endurance for this project, however as a sincere gesture of our appreciation and esteem, we would like to dedicate to him all of the moments of happiness, joy, solace and comfort that are guaranteed to be experienced at the Blissful Cabin Retreat by those in need in the coming years.
Kudos and infinite thankfulness and recognition to the entire Blissful Cabin Retreat volunteer team who brought their best game and a compassionate and humble attitude to this project. You are ALL heroes and outstanding human beings in our eyes and we are proud to be your partners in compassion!
Looking forward, we have Phase II of the Blissful Cabin Project to prepare for. At that time, we anticipate taking the remaining steps needed to make the Blissful Cabin a fully functioning and independent retreat, which we can potentially use year round. To do that, we will need to implement electricity and water (i.e., dig trenches and lay cables and dig a well and install plumbing) and build a shower house and outhouse. This will take a good deal of skilled volunteer labor (i.e., carpenters, electricians, excavators, well driller, etc.) and ample funds to make it happen. Please help if you can either by volunteering your services, donating funds, sharing your expertise and ideas and/or spreading the word. Thank you!
SHORT VIDEOS FROM THE PROCESS OF BUILDING THE BLISSFUL CABIN – HAVE A LOOK!
Blissful Cabin Retreat Build Weekend #1 – The Foundation
Blissful Cabin Retreat Build Weekend #2 – The Deck
Blissful Cabin Retreat Build Weekend #3 – Cabin Base and Site Work
Blissful Cabin Retreat Build Weekend #4 – Cabin Framing
Blissful Cabin Retreat Build Weekend #5 – Cabin Walls/Bay Window/Insulation/Site Work
Blissful Cabin Retreat Build Weekend #6 and #7 – Roofing, Windows, Siding, Cabin interior (whitewashing/painting)
Blissful Cabin Retreat Build Weekend #8 and #9
Blissful Bedrooms has an exciting project planned to begin during the first weekend in May, 2013 and we need your help and support more than ever to make it happen! This undertaking merges our passion for designing unique and functional personal spaces for young individuals with disabilities with our commitment to nurturing a meaningful community, and organizing joyful opportunities that nourish the members’ minds, bodies, hearts and souls.
A team of Blissful Bedrooms volunteers will be building a BLISSFUL CABIN RETREAT in the Catskills (Saugerties, New York) over several weekends this summer. Like our bedroom makeovers before, all of this work will be carried out by volunteers, many who will make the trip from New York City each Friday and camp out in tents on the grounds all weekend while they work. They are doing this out of the goodness of their hearts and we will nourish them, and show our gratitude for their selfless service, by providing tasty meals prepared with love.
The cabin will serve our community in the following ways:
1) As a hub for occasional camping trips and retreats for groups of young individuals with disabilities.
2) As a respite for young individuals with disabilities, and their families, to occasionally make short visits, escape the challenges of inner city life, and enjoy the country air and healthy living so they can recharge their spirits.
We believe this an invaluable gift to give as these young individuals rarely have the opportunity to leave the harsh realities of their life in the city.
The above images are photo renderings of our actual design for the cabin. It is a small, humble bi-level structure with a large attached deck. The purpose of such an expansive deck is so that our special friends in wheelchairs can have the freedom to move about the environment and feel at home and comfortable when staying at the cabin. It will also serve as the area where lots of fun things will be going on during our retreats and gatherings, such as meals, dance parties, inspiring movies, yoga/exercise classes and more. Leading off of the deck into the forest via a ramp will be a path to a wheelchair accessible campsite where members of the Blissful Bedrooms community will stay in tents during our retreats. There will also be a fire pit close by, where we will share many relaxing moments around the camp fire roasting marshmallows, singing songs, telling stories and simply sitting quietly together as we enjoy being mesmerized by the dancing flames. Although the photos reflect our actual design which we have spent many, many hours conceptualizing and refining, the next step is to manifest it up there in the Catskills and for that we need the help of many, many individuals.
We expect to have the cabin completed by late August and plan on hosting an Opening Reception for our supporters and special friends soon after. We envision the Blissful Cabin as being the first step to a multi-cabin retreat and wellness center – Blissful Village, and likely a well-known camp for young individuals with disabilities in the coming years, and we hope you will join hands with us to set out on this exciting journey.
Currently we are in the process of assembling a team of volunteers to take part and we are still very much in need of dedicated and committed individuals to join our efforts.
If you are interested in donating time, materials, services, food, transportation, etc. or have ideas/suggestions for resources and ways to inspire support from others, please do reach out to us as soon as possible.
– Experienced Carpenters, Builders, Tradesmen, and Craftsmen
– Contractors specializing in roofing and window/door installation
– Artists to help us create a beautiful, positive and tranquil environment with colorful art accents
– Individuals for the Hospitality Team during work weekends, i.e., help cook and serve meals to volunteers, etc.
The cabin will take serious fundraising and will cost a good deal more than our average bedroom makeovers. However, we have no doubt that Blissful Bedrooms supporters will be very enthusiastic about our plans, and will immediately envision the widespread benefit and joy that will ensue as a result of these actions. Like our bedroom makeovers, we need the help of many people to help bring the Blissful Cabin Retreat to life and no donation is too small (or too big).
Please support this project by making a donation of any amount via the Paypal button at the bottom of this page. Thank you so very much and we hope you will join us at one of our future retreats at the Blissful Cabin so you can experience the serene and peaceful space you helped to create!
WHY A BLISSFUL CABIN?
In May of 2012, after searching on the internet for a relaxing place to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, Alex and Martha discovered a tiny jewel of a cabin nestled within a 98-acre oasis of forest land in the Catskills on a property called Awakening Garden. We fell in love with this sweet and simple respite and returned many times after our initial visit. Not long after our initial visit, we talked about how it would be so completely awesome if we could bring members of the Blissful Bedrooms community there and even build a Blissful Cabin just for this purpose. Well the wheels got turning and we spent many of our visits to the Awakening Garden making drawings, enlivening our vision with conversation, and putting form and intention to this dream. Looking back, we see how it was no doubt destiny for us to be led there and to the lovely and benevolent owners, Carin and Mark Denat, who have become our partners in compassion and who are nurturing and empowering this effort.
During the weekend of 9/15-9/16/12, Blissful Bedrooms had our very first camping trip to the Catskills! Thirty people took park in the retreat, including 7 young individuals with disabilities who are dependent on wheelchairs, as well as others with autism and mental retardation. The trip was a big success and served as the official initiation into the Blissful Cabin project. The photographs tell the whole story and the serene joy and contentment everyone experienced during the weekend only served to reinforce our belief that a respite like this is very much needed for the inner city disabled youth our organization serves.
Team Blissful Cabin Retreat
Vanessa von Hessert
Thank you to all of the generous ORGANIZATIONS/BUSINESSES and INDIVIDUALS who contributed to the manifestation of the Blissful Cabin by donating funds, services and/or materials.
Blissful Cabin Angels
Vincent & Karen Anzalone
David & Lynn Barclay
Martin & Laura Brodsky
Mark & Carin Denat
Robert & Patricia Elder
Daniel & Judith Goldsmith
Walter & Sherry Goldsmith
Teresa Guerrero Hamm
Ruth E. Levitt
Christopher Kostas & Elizabeth Sharpe
James & Julie Kurose
Ann Lewis & Timothy Stokes
Kristin Long & Katherine Deats
Sarah Madsen Vale
Michael & Michele Mariotta
Christopher Perry & Viveca Greene
Michele, Frank & Samantha Polgano
Maria H. Rueda & Andre B. Tamayo
Sophia Sarigianides & James Stillwaggon
Ron & Cathi Shapiro
Jill & Dave Stern
Ann Vaughn & Kay Cowperthwait
Heather & Thomas Walker
Thomas M. Weiner
Beth DeMay Wemple
A Cottage in the City - www.acottageinthecity.com
Bel Aire Diner -www.belaireastoria.com
Brant Lake Camp -www.brantlake.com
Brooklyn Bagel and Coffee Company
Camp Vega -www.campvega.com
Carpenters Local 279 - www.carpenterslu279.org
Circle W -www.circlewpalenville.com/
Common Cents, New York, Inc. (P.S. 811x Penny Harvest collection) -www.commoncents.org
Dunkin Donuts (Saugerties, New York) -www.dunkindonuts.com
Dutch Ale House -www.dutchalehouse.com
Film Biz Recycling, Inc -.www.filmbizrecycling.org
Goldman, Sachs & Co. Matching Gift Programwww.goldmansachs.com/citizenship/goldman-sachs-gives/
International Caterers of Distinction -www.international-caterers.com/
Interport Maintenance Company, Inc. www.iport.com/
Richter Capital Management
Seed Stitches -www.seedstitches.etsy.com
The Cheesecake Factory (Huntington Station) -http://locations.thecheesecakefactory.com/ny/huntington-136.html
The Giving Tree Yoga Studio -www.thegivingtreeyogastudio.com
The Gustafson Family Foundation
The Luis & Alma Jimenez Charitable Fund
The Veatchs Arts of the Book
Williams Lumber www.williamslumber.com
ZogSports (designated charity by The Whale Floor Hockey Team) -www.zogsports.com
Thank you to everyone who attended and supported the Blissful Bedrooms Spring Soiree fundraiser on 5/22/13 which benefited the Blissful Cabin Project!.
Thank you to the stores who have adopted Blissful Bedrooms donation boxes, and to the generous and giving customers/people who contributed to the boxes. You helped us to create the Blissful Cabin Retreat for Disabled Youth!
Astoria 31st street market
Bel Aire Diner
Brooklyn Bagel & Coffee Company
Double G Pharmacy
Film Biz Recycling
Fresh Start Organic Market
Green Line Market
Omega Liquor Store
Pick 99cents Store
Rosario’s Italian Deli