Camp Horizon History
Camp Horizon was founded in 1982 when a handful of friends decided to find a way to positively impact the community. They agreed that changing the lives of abused and neglected children living in foster care would be valuable to the children as well as the community. And so it began in the summer of 1982, supported by a shared goal of investing in the future of our community. The challenge of our new organization was to reach out to the “bruised and broken-hearted.”
From our humble beginnings of only eight campers sleeping in tents in a parking lot of a local church, to our current week-long and year-round programs at a state of the art camping facility, our mission has remained the same. Each child we serve through Camp Horizon gives clearer vision to our course: that new day, that better day, lies before us.
After that first weekend retreat, we realized that we needed to build a stronger partnership with the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS) in order for Camp Horizon to continue to provide this amazing experience for children living in foster care. With their cooperation, the retreat was expanded to a week-long summer camp. For the first seventeen years, programming consisted of a summer camp and a holiday party in December.
Challenged by the transient nature of foster care placement, it quickly became a high priority for us to keep as many kids consistently involved as possible and make our programming year round.
In 1999, Camp Horizon expanded its programming by adding the Leadership Development Program for campers ages 12-18 who had previously attended Summer Camp. Year-round events were also added. These programs include a holiday party, an annual family reunion, and several opportunity days which include life skills development and recreational activities for everyone.
Our newest program created in 2010 is the Camp Horizon Adult Mentoring Program (CHAMPs). It is designed for our graduate campers ages 18-23. The CHAMPs program focuses on real world life skills and continues to cultivate the family that these graduate campers have been a part of for so long.
Due to the expanded and consistent programming, children who first participated in Camp Horizon summer camp have remained involved over the years and are now young adults. They’ve made a commitment to Camp Horizon. Several have become counselors themselves, while others regularly volunteer at other camp activities.
We have grown hundreds of wounded children into healthier adults. Equipped with knowledge and skills they have learned from Camp Horizon, these former campers will be the people who impact their communities with great strength. Not only will they break the cycle of abuse in their own lives, but they will be prepared to help prevent abuse in the lives of those around them. They will take what they have received from Camp Horizon and grow it into a powerful agent for social change.
Tonya Malone Ferguson, PHD. LCSW
Dr. Tonya Malone Ferguson comes to us from Georgia’s Division of Family and Children Services as the Director for the Education Programming, Assessment and Consultation Unit, working to meet the educational needs of Georgia’s foster youth.
She brings a wealth of experience with over twenty years of experience in nonprofit, community outreach and cultivation, resource development, community partnership, volunteer management and youth and family development. She has a strong desire in advocacy, promoting education, social justice and equality for all people, more specifically, the vulnerable population of foster youth and passion for improving the community.
Courtney Lindner, MSW
Courtney Lindner received her Master of Social Work (MSW) degree from Georgia State University with an emphasis in engaging stakeholders and influencing effective organization outcomes. Her professional interests include trauma-informed research and application; program design, evaluation, and optimization; and supportive services for children and young adults.
Courtney is passionate about providing a safe environment for youth to explore who they are. She is committed to supporting young people to develop optimally and achieve their highest potential.
Courtney manages all Camp Horizon events & year-round programming.
Board of Directors
Evan Saadat is an Architect at Cooper Carry in Atlanta, Georgia. Evan works in the K-12 studio where he focuses on designing and building schools around the Southeast. Evan has been volunteering with Camp Horizon since 2012, participating in Summer camps and events throughout the year. Outside of work he likes to spend time with my family, travel, and play disc golf.
Dr. Devan Ford McCartney
Dr. Devan Ford McCartney is an equity and inclusion practitioner and higher education administrator. Devan also provides consulting and coaching services to businesses and non-profit organizations to increase equity, inclusion, belonging and leadership.Outside of work, Devan enjoys spending time with family, traveling, reading and community service.
Jeff values the life changing ability of Camp Horizon as shown by two young men that he considers his “sons”, now 25 and 30, that he met when they were just 8 years old.
"Camp Horizon connects with the children involved and provides them a path of hope, respect, and possibilities for a future that in many cases, seems very bleak from the child's perspective"
Jane Del Gobbo
Jane Del Gobbo is a longtime volunteer with Camp Horizon. Her first summer was as a summer camp counselor in 1997. Since that initial year, she has served as a summer camp counselor, self esteem class instructor, arts and crafts instructor, and most recently, as an assistant to the director. Jane was one of the initial program directors for the Leadership Development Program, ensuring continued programming for the Camp Horizon youth ages 12-18.
Andrew is a management consultant with a specialization in providing finance and accounting services for businesses going through strategic change. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and dog, and in his free time enjoys hiking, reading and cooking.
Candis is an impassioned thought leader and practitioner within the state child welfare sector for nearly 24 years, with a specific skillset in leadership development and workplace culture enhancement. Her most notable skills are in outcomes focused strategic planning, continuous quality improvement, lean innovation, teaching and coaching.
Jay is an innovative sales executive in the Atlanta technology scene, and spent over 10 years in the financial technology space working for large companies like Sage and NCR. A proud former camper, Jay hopes to help create an avenue for graduated campers to find success working in challenging fields like STEM, while also finding the support they need in their early professional lives.
Michelle has extensive experience and passion for working with at-risk youth. She participates as a member of the choir and Vice-President of the Board of Directors of the Trey Clegg Singers, Inc. and is an original contributor to the DreamBee Foundation