Many children placed in foster care are separated from their siblings. Camp Connect ensures they have the opportunity to visit and maintain their relationship with each other.
Unfortunately, for a variety of reasons, many children are separated from their brothers and sisters while in foster care. This separation can be devastating.
The same brothers and sisters that most often helped them survive their traumatic abuse or neglect, are not there to offer comfort while in foster care.
In 2008, Promises2Kids and the County of San Diego researched ways to support children in maintaining their family bonds when it is impossible for them to live together in the same placement. The result is Camp Connect – another strong public private solution to a devastating community problem.
Promises2Kids Camp Connect is creating a brighter future for foster youth siblings.
Each year, Camp Connect organizes a fun-filled four-day summer camp in the mountains of Julian. At this special camp, siblings connect through activities such as horseback riding, swimming, music therapy and zip lining, among others. Camp provides these children with an environment of fun and safety, allowing them for a short time to set aside their trauma and experience the joy of being a kid. Children not only bond with each other, but also with their adult mentors. Hundreds of San Diegans volunteer their time and energy to work Camp Connect events each year, dedicating themselves to these foster children and supporting a program that provides the best experience possible for brothers and sisters to reconnect and bond.
This is one of the best camps I’ve been to because I get to share this with my little brother.
Following summer camp, Camp Connect hosts a variety of monthly day camps, allowing these separated brothers and sisters continued quality time for bonding. Ice skating, going to a museum and attending a ball game are often ordinary activities for the average child. For foster youth, these are precious opportunities to create special memories and lasting bonds with their brothers and sisters.
Camp Connect serves over 400 foster youth each year. Through pre and post-camp surveys of attending youth as well as caregivers, we have found:
- 70% of children maintain some form of contact (text, email, phone) with siblings between events
- 70% of children report positive self-esteem and confidence
- 50% of caregivers notice improved behavior in participant
- 90% of children describe themselves as happy to see their siblings
- 70% of children report these events were new experiences
This camp reminds me that all I need is family.Darwin, foster youth, 13 years old
My favorite moment was at the end of camp when the children went on stage and spoke of how they enjoyed camp and valued the time they got to spend with each other.
To learn more about Camp Connect, to volunteer or to provide support,
contact Lenny Leszczynski at (858) 751-6616 or click here to email.
Links pertaining to children separated in foster care: