417 Baltimore-Area Children Head to Summer Camp Thanks to Fresh Air Fund at BCF

May 20, 2015

417 children in the Baltimore area will have the chance to attend a summer camp this year after Baltimore Community Foundation awarded $112,027 to 15 regional camps from The Children’s Fresh Air Society Fund. 

The grants, made in the form of “camperships”—scholarships which help defray the cost of camp fees and tuition—will give disadvantaged and disabled Baltimore-area children the benefits of a summer camp experience.

Among this year’s grantees are camps serving children who have experienced the loss of a loved one, those with physical or cognitive disabilities, and those whose families would not have been able to afford to send them to camp otherwise. 

This year, campers will sail the Chesapeake Bay, explore the wonders and beauty of nature through environmental education, and feel the thrill of the outdoors through traditional camp activities such as swimming, canoeing, hiking, and horseback riding.

Founded in 1890, the Children’s Fresh Air Society, first arranged for 53 chronically-ill children to enjoy the fresh air and sunshine of the Maryland countryside. In the 125 years since, the Society’s generosity has made it possible for thousands of children to experience summer camp. In 1990, the Society was converted to a fund of the Baltimore Community Foundation and has since distributed more than $2.7 million to enable Baltimore-area children to attend camps.

“For 25 years, BCF has been committed to providing camperships that allow Baltimore’s children to experience the joys and rewards of summer camp,” says Tom Wilcox, BCF President and CEO. “We are proud to carry on the mission of the Children’s Fresh Air Society with the support of generous donors from across Baltimore. We look forward to helping Baltimore children attend enriching summer camps for decades to come.”

The 2015 Children’s Fresh Air Society Fund grantees include:

Baltimore Urban Leadership Foundation, The Door - $6,000 / 60 campers
Science and technology instruction are the hallmarks of this six-week day camp for students who attend Commodore John Rodgers Elementary-Middle School, Tench Tilghman Elementary/Middle School, and Patterson Park Public Charter School. Campers will engage in hands-on STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics) learning projects that foster critical thinking, cooperative learning and problem solving.

Baltimore-Washington Conference United Methodist Church, Manidokan $6,450 / 30 campers
These one-week residential camps serve children ages 7-18 at two Maryland sites. Both locations offer swimming, boating, water sports, arts and crafts, hiking, nature study and youth leadership activities.

Camp Opportunity - $9,420 / 12 campers
This week-long residential camp serves children ages 7-11 who have been sexually or physically abused or neglected. Daily activities include swimming, computer games, fishing, outdoor games, a ropes course, arts and crafts, and canoeing, and are geared toward building self-esteem, goal setting, working as a team, and overcoming personal challenges.

Camp Pecometh - $8,180 / 20 campers
This five-day residential camp serves young people recruited through the Baltimore Department of Social Services and the Baltimore City Public Schools. Camp activities include canoeing, swimming, sailing, arts and crafts, singing, horseback riding and nature education.

Camp Puh’tok for Girls and Boys - $9,200 / 8 campers
This two-week residential camp serves youth ages 7-16 from diverse economic backgrounds. Campers enjoy a variety of traditional camp activities, including archery, canoeing, arts and crafts, hiking, and tent camping.

Camp Rock - $5,000 / 10 campers
This two-week day camp in Baltimore County serves children from the Baltimore area from a variety of backgrounds, including children in crisis situations. Camp activities include reading, painting, environmental science, horsemanship, singing, sports and nature walks.

Genesee Valley Outdoor Learning Center - $5,000 / 25 campers
At this Parkton-based day and overnight camp, youth ages 4-18 enjoy a variety of activities, including, hiking swimming, canoeing, fishing, archery and a ropes course. 

Living Classrooms Foundation, BUGS Summer Camp - $8,000 / 10 campers
The Baltimore Urban Gardening with Students (BUGS) camp gives rising second through fifth graders from Baltimore’s Commodore John Rodgers Elementary School the opportunity to explore horticulture, ecology, and the wonders of nature through cooking, gardening, creative arts, and creative movement and dance. 

National Aquarium in Baltimore, Watershed Wonders - $5,100 / 20 campers
This day camp gives Baltimore City public school students the opportunity to discover the marshes and waterways of the Chesapeake Bay. Campers will seine for fish, crabs and shrimp; spend two days exploring two watersheds on kayak trips; and learn to take and test scientific samples of Chesapeake Bay water.  

Patterson Park Audubon Center, Summer Urban Naturalist - $4,600 / 50 campers 
This five-week day camp in Baltimore’s Patterson Park draws campers are from Hampstead Hill Academy in southeast Baltimore. Many campers speak English as a second language. The camp participates in the Busy Bees program and focuses on enriching programming that includes environmental studies, horticultural studies, ecological restoration and leadership development.

Power House Community of Christ Church, Chesapeake Bay Mission Center Youth Camp - $5,000 / 20 campers
Power House’s one-week residential camp draws in many campers of various ages from the area in and around Southwest Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood. Many recreational and enriching activities are offered during the camp, including wildlife history, problem solving, fishing and sports. Staff at the camp are trained to respond to students’ unique emotional and social needs. 

Roberta's House, Camp Erin Baltimore - $5,157 / 9 campers 
Camp Erin, the largest bereavement camp in the country, is designed for children and teens ages 6-17 who have experienced the death of someone close to them. This three day residential camp combines traditional, fun, camp activities with grief education and emotional support led by grief professionals and trained volunteers. Camp Erin provides a unique opportunity for peer bonding among children and teens facing a similar life circumstance.

St. Vincent de Paul Society, Camp St. Vincent - $17,520 / 80 campers 
Camp St. Vincent is an eight-week day camp located in Patterson Park in Southeast Baltimore. It provides a supervised environment with academic, therapeutic and enrichment programming for children ages 5-14 from homeless families from Baltimore City and Baltimore County. The program is specifically designed to address the impact of homelessness on academic, social and emotional development with a structured reading and math curriculum, social skills groups and cultural enrichment activities.

Talisman Therapeutic Riding Inc., TT Riding - $7,700 / 28 campers 
Talisman Therapeutic Riding offers two day camps at its Graysonville location: one for campers with physical or cognitive disabilities and another for youth who are able-bodied and “at-risk”. Campers ages 6-10 learn basic equine skills including grooming, tack use/care, leading and riding. Campers also learn basic horticultural skills and participate in planting and growing vegetables and flowers, working with dirt, seeds, water and the sun.

The Arc of Baltimore, Bay Buddies -  $4,880 / 10 campers
Bay Buddies is a day camp and educational enrichment program for children with intellectual, developmental and physical disabilities hosted by the Living Classrooms Foundation. Activities are tailored to the specific needs of each child and include sailing, horseback riding, swimming and much more. Campers are drawn from the student bodies of four partner schools: Battle Monument and Maiden Choice Schools in Baltimore County, and William S. Baer and George W.F. McMechen in Baltimore City. 

Woodberry Crossing, Camp Crossing: Air Matters - $5,000 / 25 campers
Located on a 100-acre farm in Parkton, Maryland, this camp provides opportunities for low-income Baltimore City children to spend a week exploring and learning from nature. The 2015 camp theme is “Air Matters.” Campers will discuss and review scientific concepts of air (chemical properties, biological necessity and air as a power source) and explore the environmental necessity of air and the effects of air pollution. Campers will also get to experience the outdoors through activities like hiking, cycling and swimming.  


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