Hormel Historic Home: Room to celebrate

Published 6:20 am Saturday, July 13, 2019

We all know time flies, but can you believe that the Hormel Historic Home Carriage Hall Event Center will be 10 years old this fall?

When I look back over the last decade, I am shocked by how much programming has been held in that space and by how many people have enjoyed the lovely elegance for social events.  Over the next several weeks I will feature some of the highlights that have impacted the mission of the Hormel Historic Home and the community.

One of our biggest milestones is the completion of the 10th session of the Circle of Friends Day Camp for youth on the autism spectrum in grades first through fifth. In 2009, a need was identified for summer recreational programming for young people with autism.  In 2010, that need was addressed by passionate personnel willing to share their expertise in special education with our area’s youth.

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Since its inception, we have served an average of 22 campers per year from 86 families through Circle of Friends.

In nine years All Access Community Explorations has averaged 19 youth per year, and in five years Camp Just for Me has averaged seven campers who, because of their high needs, would not be able to attend any other camp in the area. Nine campers have attended at least eight years of programming.

Upon retirement George and Lillian Hormel wanted their home used by the community.  George said he wanted it “to be used as a meeting place for the town — a community home within whose friendly atmosphere people could gather for social and community purposes.” 

In the early 1930s, after they had donated their home to the YWCA, George hired an architect to draw plans for an expansion to the home so that it could serve more people.  However, the YWCA leadership felt that it was too grand for them to maintain. Nearly 80 years later, the expansion was completed, and the vision of their home further serving the community came to life.

My role in our ASD programming is supportive. I manage budgets, grants, logistics, registration and purchasing. I also mop floors and fix audio/visual equipment when necessary.  But I could not do the hard work of an actual camp staffer.

Passion, patience and persistence exudes from the team that works with the campers each day. 

From the set up day to the final event, the staff wear smiles that prove they work at camp because they believe in its purpose.

The impact that the HHH autism programming has made fits with the Hormel family wishes for the Historic Home to be a community resource.  A 148 year old house with a 10-year-old event center can serve a modern need.

Music @ the Mansion: Lehto & Wright

7 p.m., Monday, July 15

Minneapolis based group performing modern interpretations of Traditional Celtic and American Folk Music. The musicians bring a fresh approach to the world of folk and folk rock. Free

Music @ the Mansion: Joey Leone: AM Radio Memories – Songs & stories of the 50s, 60s and 70s

7 p.m., Monday, July 22

Joey Leone and his band take an in-depth yet lighthearted look at the songs that came out of our AM radios during the golden age of rock and roll. Free.