On September 30, 1976 Rosa Harvey was elected president of the (CAMR) Canadian Association for the Mentally Retarded Annapolis branch, which was organized in 1966. The CAMR Annapolis branch submitted a proposal to establish a vocational school for 18-35 year old, intellectually disabled persons that would service the areas of Bridgetown, Paradise, Lawrencetown, and Middleton. A survey revealed that at least 35 individuals in the Annapolis east area would benefit from such a program. The school would be called Annapolis Vocational Training Program and it would be the first of its kind in the county. The proposed date to open the centre was September 1, 1977.
The program would focus on basic skill training, personal and work adjustment, and vocational skills to help individuals meet their vocational, personal, and social goals. It would be a work centre and not a recreation centre. Michael Kendrick, Department of Social Services stressed this by stating, “In order to fit into society trainees/students need to be accustomed to the usual 9-5 work day.”
The facility would be capable of serving 12 students at any given time and would need 1000 square feet of space to operate. The first year operating budget was $23,000 65% of which would be paid for by a grant from the Department of Social Services. Selling 5,000 Christmas cards made by the intellectually disabled, a plant sale, a rummage sale, a fashion show, a spaghetti dinner, and flowers of hope campaign would raise the other $8,800.
The staff at the Annapolis Vocational Training Program would consist of a manager who would be responsible for planning, implementing, and evaluating programs, training students, personnel, and volunteers. The facility would also employ an instructor who would work directly under the manager. Also on staff would be a social worker, a psychologist, and volunteers.
On October 21, 1976 the CAMR Annapolis branch received a letter from Bill MacEachern, Minister of Social Services. The letter stated that the proposal for Annapolis Vocational Training Program had been approved in principle. The letter also commended the CAMR Annapolis branch for their interest in creating opportunities for the intellectually disabled.
The efforts of the CAMR Annapolis branch paved the way for 23 similar programs in Nova Scotia. Michael Kendrick, Department of Social Services, stated that, “All programs have received greater priority from the government because of the pressure from CAMR Annapolis branch”.
CAMR Annapolis branch Original Board of Directors:
- Rosa Harvey – President
- Flora Bills – Vice President
- Dr R. Gustafson – Secretary
- Mary Dodge – Treasurer
- Bill H Hamilton – Chairman of Finance Committee
- Kay Leslie – Chairman of Ways an Means
- Brian Taylor – Chairman of Adult Services
- Ethelyn Mosher – Chairman of Publicity
- Nan Bergren – Chairman of Parent Liaison Committee
- Vivian Gustafson – member of CAMR
In February 12, 1979, the Annapolis East Training Centre changed its name to Revolving Door Training Centre.
The Revolving Door Training Centre opened it’s doors on September 8, 1985, after a 1600 square foot expansion. The MP for Southwest Nova, Gerald Comeau and the Minister of Social Services, Edmund Morris, were in attendance. The expansion was funded by the federal government, the Canadian Association for the Mentally Handicapped (CAMR) – Annapolis County Branch, and the Revolving Door itself. The woodworking department was relocated in the new space, allowing for the Stripping Department to expand.
For a time Revolving Door Training Centre rented a space at Britex for a wood working shop. This woodshop was called West Door and was open from 1993 to 1994. This program was designed to give the clients a feel of working within the community alongside their non-disabled counterparts. There were staff from The Revolving Door on site at West Door to supervise the woodshop.
The Revolving Door Training Centre changed its location to Carleton Road in Lawrencetown in April of 2000 and then changed its name to Carleton Road Industries Association (CRIA) on December 4, 2000.