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Another Season Ends in Smiles for Separated Siblings at Camp To Belong
500 campers, 240 volunteers donating 48,000 combined hours equals unlimited memories
MARANA, AZ. (Nov. 2, 2010) – Brothers and sisters united at last. This was the feeling of many involved with Camp To Belong (CTB), an international non-profit 501(c) 3 organization, after another successful summer of bringing together siblings separated via the foster care system. This year’s lineup included camps in seven states throughout the United States and one in Australia, with the goal to open up a camp in each state and continue this model internationally. Through experiencing things together by way of horseback riding, rafting, swimming and wall climbing, Camp To Belong allows siblings to strengthen their long lost relationships with each other. To date, Camp To Belong has united more than 3,500 brothers and sisters during their 16 years of existence.
Every year the foster care system separates more and more siblings, thus making Camp To Belong’s task even more important. Currently, over 500,000 youth are in foster care, 75 percent of which have been separated from at least one sibling. Camp To Belong provides a sense of belonging to these children while letting them share childhood memories in an accommodating environment. “If it wasn’t for this camp, I wouldn’t get to see my sisters. It means a lot to me,” said camper Trycia. Although the days are filled with fun, empowering and relationship building activities, it does not stop there. Each afternoon the children participate in art activities, while nights are filled with Camp To Belong ‘Signature Activities’ for the entire camp, including talks by motivational speakers. Together, this is the recipe for a successful and memorable camp each and every year.
Nevertheless, the participants are not the only beneficiaries of the Camp. The passionate volunteer counselors also find it personally rewarding to be involved. “I first joined Camp To Belong Massachusetts in 2006 after hearing about it from a friend and I’ve been back every summer since,” said Joanna, a camp counselor. “It’s hard to put into words how camp has impacted my life, but it has made me appreciate the relationship that I have with my sister and family, it has taught me about the power of a supportive and loving community, it has shown me that resiliency and strength of character can be achieved under very unfortunate circumstances, and it has provided me with lifelong friends and colleagues.” Andrew Jenkins, a former camper turned counselor, sums it up by stating, “Miracles happen here.”
Camp To Belong is supported through grants, corporate sponsorship and donations from individuals. This support allows the organization to develop and grow with new member camps, training and camp curriculum and scholarships for children to attend camp. For more information, or to donate, please visit www.camptobelong.org.
ABOUT CAMP TO BELONG:
Camp To Belong is an international non-profit 501 (c) 3 organization dedicated to reuniting siblings placed in separate foster homes and other out of home care for events of fun, emotional empowerment and sibling connection. Founded by Lynn Price, herself separated from a sibling in the foster care system, the organization is approaching its 15th year and has helped over 3,500 brothers and sisters reunite. Supervised by volunteer counselors, the campers’ days are filled with fun and meaningful activities giving siblings the opportunity to experience new things together, such as horseback riding, rafting, swimming and wall climbing. They strengthen relationships while experiencing the storybook adventures that a summer camp provides. P.O. Box 1146, Marana, AZ., 85653, (520) 413-1395 www.camptobelong.org.