Each year thousands of children from urban, low-income or even homeless backgrounds in the U.S. get the chance to spend a couple of weeks in the countryside thanks to hard work and funding by local authorities, charities or agencies. For many of the kids that attend these camps it's their first time out of the city and often their first chance to truly enjoy themselves away from the day-to-day dangers they can experience there.
Due to the nature of many of the campers' environments, life on camp can be challenging. Often campers have special learning needs or attention deficit disorders - or at the very least a tough personality! On top of that you'll have the added challenge of teaching skills that may be brand new to the camper - imagine teaching swimming to a child that has never been near a lake or teaching riding to a someone who has never seen a live horse!
It's the job of the staff on these camps to ensure that campers are encouraged to have fun and develop new skills and experiences in a safe and happy environment and achieving this can be a truly rewarding experience.
An under-privileged camp we’ve work with for years is the Fresh Air Fund camps in New York State, situated 65 miles north of New York City. The Fresh Air Fund operates five different camps where 3,000 children get a break from city life every summer. They have a 6:1 camper to counsellor ratio, ensuring all the campers have the care and support they need throughout their time at camp.
The Fresh Air Fund camps each have a lake or pool for the children to swim in. They have animals on a model farm and even share a planetarium!