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.