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Camp Impact

Creation of a week-long day camp for local homeless and battered children.

Community Contact Information: 
Congregation Beth Shalom 
Arlington, TX 
www.bethshalom.org 

Goals:

  • Promote social responsibility in the youth group and the congregation.
  • Help to break the cycle of violence and despair perpetuated by child neglect.

Overview: 
Camp Impact’s mission is to provide five day summer camp experience to 70 homeless and battered children. Campers are referred from homeless shelters by school workers in impoverished areas.

Preparation: 
Planning camp each year is a year-long project involving the entire congregation. Congregants donate to the camp through a t-shirt fundraiser. Youth participants plan camp, develop programs, procure supplies and act as counselors. Youth group members search for grants, develop programming, facilitate donations and encourage congregants to donate their time and services.

Project Implementation: 
The camp program includes three meals a day for campers, arts and crafts projects, athletic activities, such as guest speakers from the zoo and a carnival on the last day. Adult volunteers assist with overall supervision, programs, kitchen duties and transportation for the campers to and from camp.

Results: 
In a long-term sense, these activities promote the individual growth of the campers. They provide and environment in which each camper can learn to overcome the cycle of poverty through a strong emphasis on continuing education and building healthy relationships, as well as illuminating each child’s unique abilities and talents. In a short-term sense the camp offers children who are often confronted with painfully adult situations the opportunity to briefly reclaim their childhood in a safe and nurturing environment.

This program won a Fain Award in 2001.