Where would I host the week of camp?
At Camp To Belong, we work with already existing camp sites and rent a week at their camp. All of our campsites must be American Camp Association (ACA) Certified.
How do I find sibling groups who want to come to camp?
Each state will operate a little different, but generally you would work with your Department of Human Services / Child and Family services and ask social workers in your area to nominate sibling groups to attend. Sometimes you will have foster parents, CASA or other adults involved in kids’ lives reach out with interest in sending a sibling group who is separated to camp.
Where do my counselors come from?
Camp To Belong counselors are volunteers who come from all walks of life, we have teachers, doctors, college students, retirees, social workers, etc. As long as they can pass a background check, have a heart of gold and are willing to sing some camp songs for a week, then we will welcome them as volunteers. Most host sites will also have some of their own staff to manage the activities requiring trained personnel such as horseback riding, obstacle courses and lifeguards for swimming.
Does it cost money to run camp?
Yes, bringing Camp To Belong to your area does cost money. Some of the fees that you can expect are paying your host camp site, camper/counselor t-shirts and other swag, birthday party supplies. and transportation (some camps will provide bus transportation if their location is more remote.) As much as we would love to say space is donated, the reality is, it costs the camps money for us to be there so we must pay. Many of our camps do work out a reduced rate due to the nature of our camp, however, each camp will be different so we cannot list one set costs.
Where do I get the money to cover these costs?
Part of bringing Camp To Belong to your area also requires fundraising. A lot of our camps get some funding through their state child welfare offices. However, that is generally not enough to cover the total costs. Many camps apply for funding through local grants and community foundations and host fundraisers to help offset the costs each year. Many of the camps that have been around for a while have an overwhelming amount of support from the communities they are in!
Before I commit to run my own camp, can I go to another camp to see what it’s like?
Yes, this is something we actually require. At Camp To Belong we have a mentor program for those looking to start a new camp. Part of that program is that we ask Camp Directors and anyone else involved in your leadership team to attend a week of camp in one of our already existing locations. During that week the local Camp Director and Camp To Belong International staff can work with you to show you how things run and the intentional planning that takes place. We feel that it is important to see it in action before you try to do it yourself. After that, the Camp To Belong International staff will be on hand to help you for your first two years of camp to ensure everything goes smoothly.
This all sounds great, I think I want to start a camp, what do I do now?
The first thing you should do is schedule a call with our Executive Director, Jen Hyde at Jen@camptobelong.org.
Camp To Belong
PO Box 1222, Littleton, MA 01460
Tax Identification Number: 94-3229145
Camp To Belong does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, gender, gender identity, gender expression, age, disability, marital status or sexual orientation in any of its activities or operations. We are an open and affirming program and we welcome all gender identities. We are committed to providing an inclusive and welcoming environment for all of our campers, volunteers and staff members.