The History of the L. Wayne Camp Award
In 1986 Arkansas REALTORS® Association President L. Wayne Camp charged the Make America Better Committee (the forerunner of the Public Relations Committee) with a statewide community service project—volunteerism and fundraising for Arkansas Special Olympics. He appointed Jim and Brenda Rochelle of Texarkana as Co-Chairs of the Make America Better Committee to implement and oversee the project. Part of the incentives were the sale and distribution of “REALTOR® Blue” sweatshirts that had the blue-and-gold REALTOR® logo screen printed on the back. REALTOR® volunteers at the Special Olympics: local, area, and state games, were encouraged to wear the sweatshirts to identify themselves as volunteers ready and willing to help. In the first year fundraising took a backseat to volunteerism. President Camp’s home REALTOR® Board, the North Central Board of REALTORS® in Mountain Home, had a turnout of over 50% of its membership at the ASO local and area games with Lorecia Fitzgerald (now Lorecia MacKinder) as part of the volunteer team along with REALTOR® Mike MacKinder, who is now located in Little Rock. All three have consistently given leadership encouragement and volunteer time to ASO over the years.
Adopted as a one-year project, the work for Arkansas Special Olympics was so rewarding it has been the Arkansas REALTORS® Association’s community-outreach project of the Public Relations Committee for the next twenty years. (In 1995 L. Wayne Camp chaired the ten-year anniversary of the ASO project. 1997 ARA President Roy D. Rainey, Jr., renamed the Make America Better Committee as the Public Relations Committee and made volunteerism and fundraising for Arkansas Special Olympics a permanent part of its projects.)
The Arkansas REALTORS® Association has raised more money for Arkansas Special Olympics than any other organization, and as of the end of 2012 has raised over Two Million Dollars. The longevity of the project and the fundraising amount has set a record among all the REALTOR® Boards and Association’s in the country.
Many have followed L. Wayne Camp as Chair of the ARA fundraising for Arkansas Special Olympics but he was the pioneer. In his honor the L. Wayne Camp award was established in 1998 as the ARA’s highest public relations award to recognize continuing and outstanding volunteerism by a REALTOR® for Arkansas Special Olympics. It is distributed annually at the ARA Convention.