Guest blogger Diana Hofsommer, development director for Camp Horizon, details how being a summer camp counselor can positively impact the life of a child.
If you could positively change the life of one child in only one week, would you? Camp Horizon is recruiting male volunteers over age 18 for a mentoring Summer Camp program this July 12 through 18. Since 1982, Camp Horizon has impacted hundreds of Metro Atlanta’s most vulnerable children living in foster care.
The overnight camp takes place in Rutledge, GA, at Camp Twin Lakes. Through a partnership with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) and private foster care placement agencies, each child, aged 8 to 11, is matched with one adult mentor for an entire, life-changing week. No special skills are needed. Willingness to have fun is mandatory.
Swimming, biking, horseback riding and arts and crafts, among other things, offer campers opportunities to learn new skills and succeed. Daily self-esteem classes tackle tough topics like self-awareness, feelings, anger management, safety, and affirmation through role playing, games and puppet shows.
During the week, trust builds and friendships evolve. Many positive changes are visible within only a few days, and in time, campers begin to experience the world in a new way. Summer Camp provides campers a chance to see what is possible for themselves, not only in just one week, but in a lifetime. This is a powerful tool for victims of trauma. Camp Horizon is a place where children in foster care can just be “regular kids” and where they can be free to play and heal.
Over the last eight years, I’ve mentored three little girls. I was able to help them learn to swim, ride a bike and face new challenges. I watched and cheered as they stumbled and got back up again. For many of our campers, there is no person in their lives to fill that role. For others, we represent supplemental support, which all children need and deserve to thrive, regardless of what hand they were dealt in life.
Camp Horizon’s mission is to restore dignity and hope to children, teens and young adults who have been abused and neglected, empowering them to make good decisions and lead healthy, productive lives.
Camp Horizon offers continuity year-round for campers who graduate into successive programs. At age 12, campers join the Leadership Development Program (LDP), where there is greater focus on peer interaction, group activities, life skills and community service. At age 18, they graduate into the Camp Horizon Adult Mentoring Program (CHAMPs), where dedicated mentors help guide their transition into young adulthood. Year-round outings provide further stability and consistency to deserving kids, many of whom lack this elsewhere in their lives. All programs are provided at no cost.
This year, Camp Horizon has a waiting list for 40 boys and girls, but we still need three to five more men to volunteer as counselors. Being short on male counselors means that we will have to turn that many boys away from a life-changing experience.
What are you doing July 12 through 18? Volunteering with Camp Horizon might be the best week of your year.
For more information about Summer Camp and/or year-round volunteer opportunities call our program director Lea Levine at 770-891-6082 or email her at Lea.Levine@camphorizon.net.
Check out our video on YouTube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0SOcpAYof7c
Follow us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/camphorizon
Read more about us through our on-going testimonial campaign at Great Nonprofits: http://greatnonprofits.org/org/camp-horizon-inc-1