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Camp Horizon, Inc

 
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Background:
 
Camp Horizon was founded in 1982 and exists today through a partnership with the Georgia Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) whose staff liaisons help match children in foster care, aged 8-11, with our mentoring Summer Camp. We also partner with Camp Twin Lakes to host our Summer Camp and Leadership Development Program (LDP) weekend retreats.

Our Programs: 
 
SUMMER CAMP: Week-long overnight camp focused on 1:1 mentoring and affirmation to build self-esteem for children in foster care from ages 8-11. We hold a morning Self Esteem Class where we use role playing, games and discussions to tackle daily themes of "Self Awareness," "Feelings," "Anger Management," "Safety," and "Affirmation."
 
 
Leadership Development Program (LDP): Our second level program for Summer Camp graduates ages 12-18, where we focus on peer interaction, life skills and continuity of relationships during weekend retreats and events.

Camp Horizon Adult Mentoring Program (CHAMPs):  A program for our campers transitioning into adulthood from ages 19-23, where they are afforded guidance and help with real life events like applying to college and the military, buying a car or renting an apartment for the first time.
 

YEAR-ROUND OUTINGS:  We offer continuity for our kids by providing fun events and activities throughout the year so that they can be reassured by the continuing relationships with their Camp friends and "family."  We offer something at least quarterly for all ages, while some events are age specific.
 
Why We're Unique:
 
Camp Horizon offers a unique mentoring Summer Camp Program for one full week each year.  Currently, we cap our Summer Camp enrollment at 32 children equally split among boys and girls to maintain a more personal “family” type atmosphere. We match each child with one volunteer mentor for the week to foster healthy relationships. Within this framework, trust builds, and our campers come out of their shells, responding positively to the very purposeful attention, direction, guidance and affirmation that Camp Horizon provides.
 
We offer the quintessential summer camp experience, where our campers find a safe place to just be “regular kids.”  Most of our campers deal with self esteem issues related to abuse and neglect. A large percent of our population also contends with falling behind in school and with learning disabilities and/or behavior challenges related to mood and anger. Sadly, by only eight or nine years old, many of our campers have already been deemed "broken" or "bad," but when we focus positive and personal attention, gentle reassurance and love on them, they blossom, and there is usually a paradigm shift in how they view the world. As they are encouraged to set goals and achieve personal successes, their confidence builds, and they begin to see new possibilities for themselves in their own lives. Many of these positive changes are visible within only a couple of days at their first Summer Camp. We see other long-term changes as our campers grow and mature. We typically never experience these "bad" kids we've heard about. Our hope is that we are helping to break the cycle of abuse and that we are instilling a sense of worth in children who are often forgotten. We show them that they are important, and in time, they believe it.
 
Remaining engaged with children who've suffered trauma is critical for their continued progress and healing. Our campers are transient, many moving often in short timeframes. We work diligently to stay in contact, and our year-round events and ongoing programs help to ensure continuity and consistency for youth who may lack this elsewhere in their lives.
 
Camp Horizon is a safe place -- physically, emotionally and socially. One camper described it by saying, “When the bus pulls into the gates at camp, all of our issues and drama from the outside world just melt away.  We can just be ourselves.”  
 
One of our CHAMPs participants said:  “I don’t know a lot about how an actual family is supposed to work, but what I do know is this: the love and encouragement I get from Camp Horizon is enough for me.” 
 
Summer Camp Expansion Project 2014:
 
We've got big goals for 2014!  We're expanding our Summer Camp program to reach more children who are at increased risk for negative behaviors like smoking, drinking, substance abuse and risky sexual behavior leading to potentially dropping out of school, criminality, teen pregnancy, STIs, mental and physical illness, suicide and death. Our secondary goal is to be able to transition an increased number of summer campers into our LDP and CHAMPs programs.


  Read more about us at Great Non Profits!  We do great work, and people write about it here.

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