Cambridge Camping students enjoying their field trips!
Finding safe, appropriate, and affordable childcare for young children, and interesting and meaningful summer activities for older kids and teens, is difficult and can be a huge financial burden for families. Summer Camps allow parents to continue working while providing their children with a safe and enriching summer. Thanks to our donors’ generous support, LAH awarded six Campership Agencies over $17,000 to fulfill their operational needs and provide scholarships to underserved inner-city children. Due to new COVID protocols, the rise in costs, and workforce shortages, these agencies require more funding to maintain their programs. We are proud to support these nonprofit organizations, which all submitted outstanding grant applications.
Let’s take a closer look at the agencies we supported this past summer!
Cambridge Camping runs summer camp programs serving campers whose race and ethnicity represent that of the city of Cambridge with a diverse and supportive staff, many of whom share the inner-city community experiences of their campers. LAH supported Cambridge Adventure Day Camp, which gives kids the special opportunity for workshops and field trips to leave the city in the hot summer and experience the beauty and natural surroundings of an outdoor environment. LAH also provided funding for inner-city children aged 5-12 to attend the Daybreak program, created for youth who have been impacted by trauma or disability. Most Daybreak campers have received diagnoses related to social, emotional, and behavioral challenges, including ADHD, autism spectrum disorders, PTSD, mood disorders, and language and learning disabilities. Additionally, LAH helped fund the Counselor in Training program, which helps teens develop strong leadership skills as they focus on mentoring younger campers and leading civic engagement projects at camp and in their community.
Housing Families Inc. (HFI) was founded in 1986 to address the growing crisis of family homelessness in Greater Boston. Today, HFI serves an average of 1,000 currently homeless, formerly homeless, and housing insecure families in Massachusetts and Greater Boston each year. Their GREAT Youth and Families Program (GYFP) developed its Summer Enrichment Camp so that children experiencing homelessness and housing insecurity have the ability to attend a camp where they can make both educational and social-emotional gains during the summer. LAH’s support provided 39 homeless, formerly homeless, and at-risk children and youth with summer enrichment through camp.
For more than a century, Phillip Brooks House (PBHA) Summer Urban Program (SUP) has offered the vital experience of summer camp to generations of leaders in service while strengthening partnerships between college students and local communities. Developed in consultation with the Boston and Cambridge Public Schools, community groups, tenant task forces, and families, SUP is a network of 11 vibrant summer camps and an ESL program that, in 2021, served 400+ low-income youth from Cambridge, Chinatown, Dorchester, Fenway, Jamaica Plain, Mattapan, Mission Hill, Quincy, Roslindale, Roxbury, Somerville, South Boston, and the South End. More than 50% of the kids who attended SUP lived in public or subsidized housing, and nearly all qualified for free school lunches, both indicators of low household income. SUP was one of the most affordable summer camp options in Greater Boston, where each camper paid only $50 (with a sliding scale for siblings) for six weeks of camp, and no child was turned away for the inability to pay.
REACH Beyond Domestic Violence emergency shelter provides crisis intervention and offers families fleeing from abuse a supportive place to catch their breath as they determine how to move into the next phase of their lives. They help all survivors create tangible plans to keep themselves physically and emotionally safe when abusive incidents happen, find a job or housing, and access benefits. REACH recognizes that the trauma of abuse affects not just one individual but the whole family network. Children are often powerless witnesses to abuse and need as much care as their parents. Along with facilitating support groups that utilize art therapy and other techniques to help children cope with the trauma in their young lives, REACH provides summer camp opportunities for children. Summer camp provides a respite for children living in stressful family situations to run, learn, laugh, and relax away from the complexities of their home life.
The mission of United South End Settlements is to harness the power of the neighborhood’s diverse community to disrupt the cycle of poverty for children and their families. USES’ program model supports the whole family by providing children with quality education and enrichment opportunities. Children attend Hale Summer Camp while parents and caregivers work with staff to reach goals around education, career, and finances. Camp Hale encourages youth to step outside their comfort zones with confidence and curiosity to develop leadership skills, independence, and resilience. Their structured and supportive environment offers campers the freedom to explore and develop unique interests while learning from a community of fellow campers and mentors with diverse racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic backgrounds. For youth 13 and over, Camp Hale provides mentoring and leadership training through their Leaders in Training and Counselors in Training programs. LITs and CITs develop the skills and self-confidence needed to become compassionate leaders and role models for younger campers
Girl Scouts of Eastern Massachusetts
Girls Scouting builds girls with courage, confidence, and character who make the world a better place. GSEMA summer camp programs offer campers a nurturing community that fosters healthy development and opportunities to build self-esteem, learn new skills, and explore personal interests under the guidance of caring, trained adults. To ensure campers of all abilities and backgrounds have equal access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience, GSEMA offers inclusive programming, community-based outreach programs, and financial aid, including financial aid for campers who would not otherwise be able to participate in Girl Scout programming.