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SCAMP features home tours this weekend

Bob and Wendy Schaffer stand in front of their home with their kids Cole, Madison, and MacGregor and dog Daisy. Photo by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
June 02, 2010 - What makes a house a home? Wendy Schaffer will tell you "filling it with the people we love."

Wendy and her husband Bob are one of this year's hosts for SCAMP's 28th annual Home Tour, which will be June 5 and 6.

"I love my house so much I'd be happy to open it up to anybody who wanted to see it, so it seemed like a good fit for me," she said.

Bob and Wendy bought the 1987 contemporary house in 2003 and took two years to do extensive remodeling and renovating to make the house their own before moving in it in 2005.

"It was an older couple who had raised eight kids and all their kids were gone, so they really wanted it for the two of them," Wendy said. "We are still friends of the youngest of the eight kids that lived here before."

The house was originally 6,500 square feet with three bedrooms and six baths. The Schaffers added three more bedrooms, each bedroom having their own bathroom, as well as pushing out some exterior walls for a bigger kitchen and adding a three season porch.

"The footprint of the house stayed the same, but all of the materials we've changed, the lighting, faucets, everything," she said. "In hindsight we should have just torn the house down, but it was only 15 years old and just thought that was a big project, but a lot of things were still fine like the furnaces and a lot of the structure was sound and the basement was dry. We really didn't want to mess with completely tearing it down."

Wendy said they really bought the house for the five acre lot and lakefront access to Deer Lake.

"The previous owners made some beautiful wooden pathways to go through the woods and lead out to the water, and a tree house out there, the grounds are just gorgeous," said Wendy. "We were not that crazy about having I-75 right outside our front window, but it's not a big deal. When we did the insulation we did spray foam insulation and now we love having I-75 that close."

Another reason for the purchasing the home she said, was to have enough room for their three kids, several animals and to be able to host family and friend parties with as many people as they want to invite.

"We really use every inch of it and we enjoy every inch of it," she said.

As far as the tour goes, Wendy said she's "rallied the whole family."

"My mother, father, sister and mother in law are all coming to the house that day to help direct people," she said. "It's becoming a real family event."

Clarkston SCAMP is a non-profit organization that provides summer day camp to over 200 youth with a wide range of special needs camp including autism spectrum disorders, physical disabilities and cognitive or emotional impairment. Established over 35 years ago, the five-week program is filled with games, music, art and motor skill practice.

The home tour is one of many fundraisers held throughout the year help supplement the cost of the program.

"Not everyone who attends the event is familiar with the camp," Heather Roeser, mother of a special needs child and event chairperson. "It's our chance to tell the world what SCAMP offers the community."

Wendy said her youngest son MacGregor, who's not a candidate for SCAMP, but does have a genetic disorder, has given her a real soft spot for parents with special needs children.

"I think it's awesome, everybody I've met have been so delightful to work with and so appreciative. It really feels like a really huge community effort," she said. "So many people I know volunteer their time for SCAMP in one way or another. I think it's just a great organization and a great cause."

The tour will kick off Saturday with a first look at the five local houses.

The other homes include Barb and Greg Parsons, Kim Dubczak, Doug Seamon, D'anne Colombo, and Carol and Larry Eberhardt

"This year's houses are completely different, ranging from historical to contemporary, from whimsical to ornate," says Executive Director Donna Clancy. "Participants enjoy getting ideas for their own home as they tour with friends and family."

After a 5:30 p.m. Saturday tour, participants who purchase Patron Night reservations will be treated to a party complete with an auction, open bar and dancing.

Reservations including a catered, '70s-style disco party are available for $100. Sunday, reservations are also available for a $30 noon tour. Pre-registered participants receive a free box lunch.

Also Art Van has offered to host the party at their Dixie Highway location in Waterford as a supplement to an Art Van challenge grant awarded to the camp last year. SCAMP has until July 31 to raise $20,000 in fresh funds in order to have that amount matched by the Michigan furniture and mattress store. For more information, call 248-620-1882 or visit

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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