Attending summer camp is a classic childhood rite of passage. Playing a ball game with friends, letting creativity soar at the craft table, and enjoying hot, tasty food at the mess hall are all memories that bring joy for years to come.
Partnering in the Pines
For therapeutic foster children, who struggle with mental, emotional, and behavioral difficulties, participating in enriching childhood activities like this can be a challenge. That’s why Catholic Charities and its partner MATFORCE, an organization aimed at reducing substance abuse, worked to bring the summer camp experience to therapeutic foster children in Prescott and Yavapai County.
The Respite Summer Camp, which took place at Prescott Pines Christian Camp, welcomed children ages 5-18 to join the fun at no cost. For three days, the campers got to leave their stress and challenges behind and simply enjoyed being kids.
The children were all smiles as they participated in activities that strengthened their teamwork skills and creativity, such as human foosball, archery, rock climbing, craft projects, and music. The zip line, though, proved to be a hit for the kids, staff, and volunteers alike.
Words of Encouragement
As the children got in line for their turn on the zip line, some felt nervous and unsure about this new experience. But support and encouragement from the Prescott Pines staff made all the difference in helping them realize just how brave they were.
“I recall one instance with a little girl who was zip lining for the first time. Not only did the staff allow her to attempt several times at the highest line, but they offered their words of encouragement which ultimately helped this little girl face her fears,” said Dana Hale, Program Manager for Therapeutic Foster Care.
This little girl’s courage served as an inspiration to others, adults included. In no time, the whole group had conquered the challenge. The forest erupted with laughter as they all zipped back and forth between the pines.
A Team Effort
The camp’s success wouldn’t have been possible without the dedication of Catholic Charities staff and volunteers. They were eager to provide anything the children needed, whether it was snack to fuel a fun-filled day or an extra foosball player to help lead their team to victory.
“Having the volunteers present and engaged with the kids eased my worries, allowing me to focus on coordinating activities and spending 1:1 time with kids needing that extra love and attention,” Dana added.
Catholic Charities is grateful to MATFORCE for helping bring this opportunity to therapeutic foster care children. MATFORCE provided grant funds for the camp and valuable training to the kids.
If you’re interested in volunteering to bring positive experiences like these to therapeutic foster children in Northern Arizona, check out all the ways to get involved.