Camp Newaygo Accessibility Review

Recently, Disability Network West Michigan Newaygo County staff completed an accessibility review at Camp Newaygo. They toured the camp, including the new Craft Shop & the zip line. Unfortunately, It was raining w/thunder & lightening so the zip line was not available for staff to try, and some areas are still “under construction” and will be evaluated at a later date.

Beginning loft of zip line (not accessible)

End of Zip line showing distance between lofts.

Ramp to new Craft Shop.

Accessible bathroom in new craft shop.

Signage for Dark Room

Dark room for developing film

New driveway to craft shop (Wheelchair accessible) in progress.

New driveway to craft shop (in progress, accessible)

Current drive to new Craft Shop. (Steep grade, not wheelchair accessible)

Pottery Wheels (pottery porch & Gretchen’s Deck outside.

First Summer Transition Youth Camp in Newaygo County a huge success!

Our first Summer Transition Youth Camp was a success thanks in huge part to the many Newaygo County/Fremont community partners who were so generous and gracious to our youth in transition. We would like to thank the following:

McDonald’s– For allowing us to crowd their picnic tables and consistently fill our water bottles and empty our bladders!
Tractor Supply Co.. – Volunteering for work-based learning
Tamarac, The Center for Health and Well-Being – Nutrition, Health & Wellness, Physical Fitness
Choice One Bank – Budgeting and money management
Michigan Secretary of State’s Office – The processes and establishing state ID’s (they were also open for questioning and provided drivers training manuals)
Fremont Public Library – Conference Room, Community Room and private interviewing rooms
Alpha Family Center of Newaygo – DISC personality testing/ healthy relationships
Bill’s Shop N Save – Space and water for car wash
Sweet Tire– Promoting car wash to customers
Empowerment Network & FCS Nest Resale – Thrift shop fashion search for interview clothes
Elsie’s Ice Cream Station – Last day fun and games and of course Ice Cream!
Michigan Rehabilitation Service – Self-directed career assessments and results.
Newaygo County Resa– For graciously completing mock interviews and videotaping for review and discussion

We can’t thank you all enough for supporting your county’s Youth!

Disability Network West Michigan’s Newaygo County Resource Fair

Thank you to all who participated, presented and volunteered at Disability Network West Michigan’s Newaygo County Resource Fair to make it so successful!


“Building Communities that “WORK” so that people with disabilities can lead full and exciting lives!”

The CIL Director’s met in Lansing on June 15 and June 16 to discuss items pertinent to the current landscape of our CIL’s and communities.  Areas of both strength and weaknesses were discussed in regards to collaborating as a Network and ideas were shared on how to achieve goals more effectively. 

One of the most impactful things discussed as a group was around defining Independent Living and talking strategically about weaving IL in our own communities.  The discussion lead to a more effective question around “why?” This offered deeper discussion and resulted in the following impact statement for our Network: 

“Building Communities that “WORK” so that people with disabilities can lead full and exciting lives!”


Summer Transitioning Youth Camp (STYC) Newaygo County


Pic: Group of 7 campers and staff


Pic: Camper moving pallet of lawn care products


Pic: Three campers stocking products


Pic: Two female campers emptying bag into trash container.


Pic: Male camper pulling pallet of products.


Pic: Female camper mopping floor.


Pic: Female camper sweeping floor

Our first STYC camp in Newaygo County has started this week in Newaygo and it looks like everyone is learning independent living skills while have a great time! Our summer program is to offer youth an opportunity to develop their goals and plans for what will come after they complete their secondary education.  Our thanks to the Newaygo Tractor Supply Co. for their partnership! Tractor Supply Co.

Save Our Health Care: Call Your Senator Today!

June 20, 2017

It’s National Call-In Day to Save Our Health Care: Call Your Senator Today!

Today is a national call-in day to save our health care as we know it.  Call your Senator today!

  1. Call the Capitol switchboard at (202) 224‐3121.   If you can’t get through when you call, please keep trying. The switchboard is going to be extremely busy!
  2. Follow the prompts. Press “1” to indicate you want to speak with your Senator, then say your state and press “1”to indicate that the state is correct. Finally, press “1” to connect to your first Senator’s office.
  3. A staff person or machine will answer the phone. You can leave the message below.  Try to personalize the message if possible.  Hello, my name is (name).  I am a constituent of Senator (name) from (hometown).  I am calling to urge Senator NAME to vote against the American Health Care Act.  The bill would result in devasting cuts to Medicaid.  Medicaid is the only way most people can pay for long-term care, but these cuts would mean those in need of services and supports wouldn’t get them.  Please tell Senator NAME to say “NO” to Medicaid cuts and caps and protect the care of all those needing long-term care in NAME OF YOUR STATE and the country.
  4. Repeat to call your second Senator and leave the same message.


Your advocacy matters!

DNWM STEP-IN Volunteer Luncheon

DNWM 2017 STEP-IN Volunteer Luncheon at The Coffee Factory. Congratulation to Phillip Winston for recieving the 2016/2017 Stephan A. Silky Volunteer of the Year Award!


Muskegon Area Transit System Fare Proposal


Mats Fare Policy Proposal May 2017

A public hearing will be held to gain input on these proposals at the Muskegon County Hall of Justice, 990 Terrace Street, Fourth Floor Board Chambers, on Thursday, May 18, 2017, at 3:30 pm. Please arrive early as all persons entering the Hall of Justice must pass security screening.





Disability Network West Michigan has hired Diane N. Fleser as its new executive director.

In her new role, Fleser will manage day-to-day operations of Disability Network West Michigan, which employs 24 and provides independent living resources for people with disabilities in a five-county area. She will have oversight of strategic planning, employment, finance, grants, partnerships and related administrative duties. Fleser will oversee and implement the organization’s strategy on behalf of the board of directors, ensuring that DNWM builds a diverse board and team that reflects the population it serves.

Fleser brings 16 years of professional experience to her new role, including six years with the Michigan Army National Guard that featured a 12-month deployment to Iraq. Since 2010, she has worked in a variety of roles with area nonprofits, including six years working with vulnerable populations and four years in program development and design.

“Diane presented herself as a passionate, poised and experienced professional,” said John Wahlberg, chair of the DNWM board. “Most importantly, she is experienced in creating and developing strong mission-drive programs within the five counties we serve. She has personal contacts and a history of building hands-on community partnerships.

“Diane demonstrated the drive, focus and skills needed to be a successful leader of Disability Network West Michigan. We are delighted to welcome her to the team.”

Prior to joining DNWM, Fleser served in roles of increasing responsibility with TrueNorth Community Services, most recently as self-sufficiency and community health director. Based in Fremont, TrueNorth provides programming to 64 counties in Michigan that addresses rural poverty, ensures youth thrive, builds vibrant communities and provides innovative rural nonprofit leadership.

During her tenure with TrueNorth, Fleser developed, implemented and grew current and new programs, engaged with stakeholders from local communities to the federal level, managed budgets and grants, led communication and continuous improvement efforts, and embraced the use of technology to support an increasingly mobile workforce. She started at True North in 2010, working directly on case management with vulnerable youth and their families.

Active in the community, Fleser has volunteered with diverse organizations, including Girls on the Run, Muskegon Habitat for Humanity, United Way and others.

Fleser holds a bachelor of arts in sociology from Grand Valley State University and a master’s in science administration from Central Michigan University. She is currently working on her doctorate in interdisciplinary health science from Western Michigan University.

In 2016, Fleser was part of a multidisciplinary team that received the Spectrum Health Synergy Creativity Award for work with individuals and families to improve their wellness and build a healthier community. She also received multiple medals for her military service.

A native of Hart, she currently resides in Whitehall with her husband, Ashley, and daughter, Addison.

About Disability Network West Michigan:

Disability Network West Michigan provides independent living resources for people with disabilities in Muskegon, Oceana, Newaygo, Lake and Mason counties. The mission of the nonprofit organization, which is part of the statewide network of Centers for Independent Living, is to empower, educate, advocate and provide resources for those with disabilities as well as promoting accessible communities.


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