Since 2006, Camp Felix – our overnight summer camp – has provided a safe space for those in our programs to explore, grow, and learn. As our experts have stated, camp provides an invaluable opportunity for children and teenagers to navigate social interactions, learn to problem solve, get physical exercise, and have new experiences. For young people in the child welfare system, camp also provides an opportunity to get away from the pressures of their daily lives – and to simply be a kid.
Even during the height of the pandemic, we never stopped providing camp magic for the young people we serve: we created the virtual Camp Felix @ Home in 2020, and hosted a limited half-capacity season in 2021. These were wonderful experiences that allowed our campers to enjoy activities and camaraderie while staying safe and healthy – yet nothing can compare to the experience of staying in a cabin away from home, participating in a variety of activities, and bonding with fellow campers.
This year, we’re proud to share that Camp Felix has returned to its former glory, with a full camp season serving 140 campers!
Because camp was held at a new location this year – Camp Linwood MacDonald in New Jersey – Camp Felix campers were able to enjoy the amenities and perks of a larger campsite. Campers used their journalism skills to publish a newsletter for the first time, and had the opportunity to try new on-site activities, such as lake swimming, kayaking, ziplining, fishing, archery, rock climbing, and more!
Camp Felix’s annual Open House – where Foundling staff and stakeholders tour the grounds, enjoy a meal, and watch a talent show created by the campers – returned this year, allowing campers to show off their singing, dancing, and poetry skills.
Both staff and campers enjoyed the experience. “I loved seeing the kids have fun this summer,” said one camp counselor. “It was a great experience to be around kids that [may have not had] a positive role model in their life, and be that person that they look up to.” As one parent shared, “[My daughter] enjoyed every part of [camp], and talked about it for days after coming home.”
Additionally, we launched a new specialty camp this year – Camp Felix Pride! Designed to be an inclusive and enriching experience for LGBTQ+ youth, 22 campers attended the 1-week session in Connecticut. Special activities included karaoke, biking, yoga, and a dress-up drag night.
We have high hopes for the future, and are excited to provide even more Camp Felix programming in the months ahead. This year, we will be hosting year-round recreational activities, field trips, holiday celebrations, a Youth Council, and other events to provide meaningful opportunities for our young people to connect with each other throughout the school year.