With May being National Foster Care Awareness Month it was great for us to learn and share we are able to have our much needed and desired in-person summer camp. Often, youth in the foster care system have lived through multiple traumas and disruptive events by the time they begin their transition to adulthood. This can include abuse and/or neglect, multiple foster home placements, lack of continuity in education, and an array of losses of relationships (e.g., friends, family, and/or siblings). Their life experiences can create additional problems resulting in mental illness, substance abuse problems, unemployment, homelessness, and a lack of confidence. These challenges impact the emotional and social development of foster care youth as they transition into adulthood.
Camp Horizon was started in 1982 with the purpose to provide foster youth a supportive and caring environment while giving them the invaluable opportunity to participate in a sleepaway camp. Our program works with 8 - 24 year-olds and is dedicated to preparing our youth with the skills and relationships they will need to manage the process of aging out of foster care. Overcoming the effects of childhood abuse and/or neglect is a life-long process, but Camp Horizon's one-to-one mentor matching program, intentional life skills lessons, loyal volunteers, and family-like environment, help our campers by addressing the challenges and allowing them to consistently beat the dismal odds. Youth who are transitioning to adulthood need to have well-developed self-esteem and self-efficacy skills that equip them to manage relationships in multiple contexts, including education and employment settings, as well as with friends and family members. As research highlights, the importance of positive, supportive relationships will improve a foster youth’s trajectory. Ideally, foster youth should have connections to caring adults who can provide support, including helping them access necessary resources and services.
To have in-person summer camp return has been exciting and great news for our youth! Additionally, it's exciting to us as we understand the importance of a consistent supportive adult in a foster youth's life and how this support inevitably helps by reducing the number of foster care placement changes, increasing positive behavior, supporting the youth as they exit care, as well as increasing academic achievement.
Thank you for the support of Camp Horizon as we strive to mitigate the challenges our youth face and change the trajectory of their lives. Because of you, many of our youth feel supported and loved, better able to handle emotions, and receive the appropriate skills needed to be successful as an adult. Stay tuned for pictures from this year's camp!