This past spring, Sherwood Forest said goodbye to one of its most exuberant and dedicated supporters – Alan Lee Mader. Hired as a summer staff member in 1972 by former camp director, Annabeth “Brandy” Brandle, Alan was determined to embrace all that is camp despite physical challenges caused by cerebral palsy. He brought a fierce desire to be a part of the camp community and to make a contribution, and an equally fierce intellect that fueled his sense of humor and playfulness.
Sherwood Forest Facilities Director, Gary Chastain, recalls a prime example of Alan’s earnest commitment all those years ago.
“My best memory of Alan was our hike to Lee Mt. with several camp staff members in the early 1980’s. His grit and determination to accomplish that hike still impresses me to this day. That’s how much camp and his friends meant to him.”
Outside of Sherwood Forest, Alan earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Social Work at the University of Missouri, Columbia. This also made him a fervent and life-long Mizzou Football Tigers fan. However, in the 1970’s, long before the Americans With Disabilities Act was passed, when Alan graduated, he was told that no one would hire him to do the work he was trained to do – social work.
This, and many other setbacks in his life, did not deter Alan from having a meaningful life and career. He was active in his church, and as an alumnus of Sherwood Forest, attended many Winter Holiday Reunions and visited camp as often as he could.
From the moment that Alan set foot in Sherwood Forest, he fell in love with it and for the rest of his life, remained connected, event through the location change in 1978, and several leadership changes. He helped both children and adults at Sherwood Forest understand that even a severe physical disability should not be a barrier to full engagement in the community.
As Director Emeritus, Mary Rogers, shared – “At camp Alan was just Alan, fully Alan.”
If you would like to share a memory of Alan with his loved ones, visit https://hutchensfuneralhomes.com/obituary/alan-lee-mader/.