Nonprofit Spotlight – Friends of Camp Roosevelt Firebird
Overnight Camp should be accessible for ALL KIDS
You probably saw our post a few weeks ago about Camp Roosevelt Firebird and why we think it’s a great place to send your kids (if you haven’t read that post, please read it!). Today’s post is all about one of the best features of that camp – the power of someone else’s story.
Our environments are insular by nature. Families are often filled with people of the same color, mindset, and worldview, and without actively trying to reach outside of that comfort and familiarity, it can be hard to expand your horizons (or that of your children). Kris summarized this beautifully in our earlier post:
“Where I grew up there was a lot of sameness which left me with a pretty narrow view of the world, one that I’m still working to expand. It wasn’t until I moved myself to a large city and also traipsed around the world for a few months that I really started to push outward.”
The power of someone else’s story is something all children should be exposed to, early and often. Camp Roosevelt Firebird knows this, and they’re committed to bringing children from all different physical locations and socioeconomic backgrounds. Seeing, hearing, and experiencing someone else’s story, one completely different from your own, plays a huge part in expanding the view a child takes on the world. That expanded reality will only continue to be of service to your child as they grow up. Like almost nothing else, the desire to understand a friend fosters a sense of empathy. When a true friendship forms, your friend’s story becomes woven into your own. It creates a strong desire for understanding, finding similarities among differences, and an impulse to learn more about other people. It’s a powerful tool, one that enables people to stop the snap judgments in favor of giving people the benefit of the doubt. It’s an invaluable life skill.
But, here’s an unfortunate reality – overnight camp is expensive (often in excess of $1400 per week) and that it’s not accessible to quite a large percent of the population. Friends of Camp Roosevelt Firebird is out to change that.
Friends of Camp Roosevelt Firebird is a 501c3 organization partnered with Camp Roosevelt Firebird that raises funds for partial ‘camperships’ – or camp scholarships. Any child can apply (the application can be found here). The organization does not award full camperships because some amount of investment must come from the family, but for qualified applicants, a camp scholarship can significantly reduce the financial burden to the family and open the doors for a true camp experience for any child from any financial background.
For those of you who didn’t experience overnight camp yourselves, here are a few of the benefits to sending your kids!
Life moves a little slower.
I know you’ve heard this a lot from us lately, but the age of technology has really changed our lives, and we still don’t fully understand how much You saw our post on the dangers of screen time, on social media etiquette to teach your children, on ways to prioritize self-care, and we’ve barely scratched the surface. For a lot of us, our children have never known lives without touch screens. Overnight camps are a reset to a previous era. With rare exception, they ban the use of technology and require children to rely on old school things like letter writing. Children have fun by engaging in activities that challenge them mentally or physically, and they make lifelong friends through truly interacting with each other face to face and relating to one another – what a novel concept!
They Learn New Skills
This one should be pretty obvious, but a serious benefit of summer camp is exposure to new things. Kids pick up skills, hobbies, even passions that you may not know to expose them to. It’s not at all uncommon for a kid to grow a lifelong passion for something they tried for the first time at summer camp. Canoeing, kayaking, mountain biking, rock climbing … the activities at camp are endless. For me, camp directly correlated to both hobbies and lifelong passions that I never would have experienced had I not attended.
Kids learn independence.
At camp, kids choose their own activities. They do the things they are most interested in, or the things their friends are most interested in. They decide for themselves. They succeed for themselves, and they fail for themselves. It’s their first real taste of being their own person and making their own decisions. This is invaluable, people.
Kids learn to work together.
Cabin activities and whole camp activities foster environments where kids of completely different backgrounds must work together to achieve a similar goal. Whether it’s building a pizza oven or conquering an obstacle course, kids of different ages and abilities learn to cooperate to reach the end goal.
So this one will be slightly controversial, but how many of you would love to send your child off for a few weeks so you can have some very real and deserved ‘me-time’? I would bet almost all parents have this desire at some point. Summer camp is the best of both worlds – your kids go somewhere they look forward to every year, and you get time to reconnect with yourself. Since prioritizing ‘me-time’ can be supremely difficult, this shouldn’t be an overlooked benefit!
Give the Gift of Camp
Like all charities, FCRF has more needs than funds, so if you’d like to help them in their missing to make camp accessible to all children, please consider donating! And for anyone interested in attending a fundraising event, they’re hosting a Trivia Night at Bottlehouse on April 30th, and ticket purchase includes a drink. You can check that out here.
Help all kids experience the amazing life lessons awarded by overnight camp! It’s so easy to help – and if you’re a trivia person, you can even have fun doing it!
This post was sponsored by Camp Roosevelt Firebird.
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