An Interesting Development: Ray Mahar


Tell me something good! Stomping Ground has taken another monumental step forward and hired its first Development Director! Long-time SG friend, our favorite songster, and the best little brother Kate could ask for, Ray Mahar has joined the team and is ready to take on the world of event planning, fundraising and so much more. I’ve been really lucky to call Ray a best friend over the past few years. He’s hardworking and compassionate and energized and I cannot wait to see what he makes of this position. What manages to be a great post despite one hyperbolic recollection, attached is an introductory letter from Ray himself.

Welcome Ray!



Everyone knows a couple of pretty historic events have occurred on March 4th. It’s the day Jimmy Fallon was born. The day Chicago became incorporated as a city. It’s even the day the New York Yankees won a world series. Well now, on March 4th of 2019, something else remarkable has occurred. It’s my very first day on the job working for Stomping Ground. And I don’t think history will ever be the same. Ok all jokes aside, this is the real deal everybody! I could not be more thrilled and honored to announce I will be working for Stomping Ground, doing all things community engagement, fundraising, and development related. This work is a world I have wanted to dive into for a while now, and being able to work with some of the most compassionate and selfless humans on the planet is just icing on the cake. Laura, Jack, Klee, and the rest of the seasonal staff inspire me every day to work harder and dream bigger. Now I just get to be a part of that? It’s been said before, but I am IN.



I always feel lucky enough to say I was there for that first summer in 2015. I was one of the counselors that sat through staff training, listening to Jack as he described the “no-bedtime” policy. I know that in saying that it sounds as though I am poking fun at Jack for such a crazy idea, but in all seriousness I was so enamored with their willingness to make mistakes. It takes some serious guts to take the most basic rules of camp and throw them out the window. Ever since I have met Jack and Laura I’ve always been determined to push my own dreams and goals further than I could have ever imagine. And that first week was a riot. I remember playing basketball in the rec room with Barnacle as he dunked over our tallest friend George. I always laugh when I think of meeting one of our longest returning campers Jay, as he told me more toilet bowl jokes than I have heard in my tenure as a counselor. But probably my most vivid memory of that week is writing the “original” camp theme song. My campers free styled absurd verses as I played guitar for what seemed like hours. And to come back this last summer, and see those campers remember the words to that song was pretty incredible. (You don’t get that feeling everywhere folks!) 


I am diving into the world of development and fundraising with Stomping Ground. It will consist of event planning and donor organization and grant writing and so many other things that I am just beginning to learn about. And without question I am going to make mistakes. But I will tell all of you in the Internet and Facebook worlds, if there’s one thing I love doing, it’s working with people. I am ready to hear all of what you have to say. I want to work with donors, alumni, and families who believe in the mission of Stomping Ground and want to continue to see it grow. Give us all of your input and your feedback. This camp and the community Jack and Laura have built cannot exist without your help. And maybe that’s going to be the best and easiest part of my job, that being I believe so adamantly in this camp’s values and practices. Jack, Laura, Klee, and every person that has stepped foot on camp has made me see the world from a different point of view. One that is bigger and brighter, and a hell of a lot more fun. I am going to work my butt off to make their dreams a reality. Thanks for coming with me on this ride, let’s do this people!

(Now should I probably tell my parents I work for my best friends?)


RAY Mahar
Community Engagement COORDINATOR

Raymond Mahar