Agency/non-profit camps offer a chance for a truly unique and rewarding experience. Generally agencies are charitable and run camps to support children from either their local area or from a background related to the agencies area of fundraising. Some agencies are national (for example YMCA, 4-H or Boys and Girls Clubs) whilst others may be run by more local, independent charities (for example Lions Clubs, Round Tables or Lodges).
Unlike their private counterparts, agency camps are often run to tight budgets and rely on donations to provide funding, but what they don't have in the latest equipment they make up for in the sense of community created on camp.
Generally sessions last one or two weeks, which means that over the summer you'll meet lots of different children. And for many of the children that do attend, camp is an experience they wouldn't get to have without the positive actions of the funding agency. It's a very special time the campers which makes for a really rewarding experience for the staff!
One such camp is Camp Vacamas in New Jersey. Every summer, hundreds of campers aged 7 to 16 from throughout the tri-state area come one of Camp Vacamas’ camps.
Campers are divided into “bunk” groups and are assigned a counsellor. Their counsellor goes with the bunk to all activities, creating strong bonds with the children from the start. Activities include usual camp activities such as swim instruction, arts and crafts and soccer, with “mass activities” in the evening – where everyone is encouraged to get dressed up for the theme of the activity!
Camp Vacamas is a non-profit organisation with the aim to ensure that summer camp is affordable for all children, regardless of background.