Foxwoods, Mohegan Sun volunteers help Camp Harkness get in shape for summer

(WTNH/Tina Detelj)
(WTNH/Tina Detelj)

WATERFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Foxwoods and Mohegan Sun have been rivals for years, but more recently they’ve come together in business and now in volunteering. Wednesday, members of both tribes and casinos were at Camp Harkness in Waterford, helping get it ready for the summer season.

“This is a great place. They do wonderful things here,” said Mohegan Tribal member Mark Sperry. “We want to help with that, but to work with our cousins, yeah, that’s great.”

The Mohegans may have split from the Mashantucket Pequots hundreds of years ago, but they have come together recently to fight off other casino competition, and now for the first time they’ve come together as volunteers.

Camp Harkness, located along Waterford’s coastline, provides beach access and other activities to those with disabilities.

“The entire facility is handicapped accessible as well, and so they come out with their families and enjoy many activities they don’t usually have the opportunity to do,” said Rodney Butler, Chairman of the Mashantucket Pequot Tribal Council. He was cutting back Beach Rose bushes near a playground.

Dan Webster, Head of Engineering at Mohegan Sun, planned out the landscaping projects while both tribes brought the manpower and heavy equipment needed to get the jobs done.

“What we’re doing today would probably take the staff here a year or a season to get done, and we’re getting it done in one day,” said Webster, working on the wheelchair accessible garden.

“Cleaning brush, mulching, weeding,” said Don Trella, the Human Resources Director at Mohegan Sun, listing just some of the tasks they tackled.

Whether they are from the landscaping crews at the casinos, are black jack dealers, or on the tribal councils, these volunteers certainly helped a camp which helps so many others.

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