I have been a Board member at several other nonprofits and religious organizations, and Camp Horizon stands out. The most prominent reason is its tenacity. Camp Horizon has been in operation for about 25 years, with a history of overcoming a great number of challenges. The source of this perseverance is the group's sincere dedication to its mission: helping significantly disadvantaged kids in the foster care system build the life skills and confidence necessary to thrive in this world. I am proud to be part of Camp Horizon.
Review from Guidestar
A couple years ago, I was walking down the path at camp talking with two other counselors. These guys had been fraternity brothers of mine, and between all of us we definitely have some stories that we will wait to tell our kids. But we were having a conversation that I never would have imagined when we were in college... we were talking about how every year, Camp Horizon changes our lives for the better and unfailingly brings out the best version of ourselves - and it seems like that applies to all the other counselors/staff members too. Everyone cares about everyone else so much, and with zero percent hyperbole or exaggeration, the three of us reached the conclusion that this atmosphere of love and kindness is probably what Heaven is like... and this one week of summer camp is about as close as you can get to it here on Earth.
Sappy and dramatic? Yes. All true? Yes!!
The word "family" has been a common theme across the reviews here, and it is with good reason - if you think of the best qualities a family has to offer, that's exactly what Camp Horizon provides for abused/neglected children: 100% unconditional love, selflessness, generosity, kindness, and constant encouragement.
I've been involved with Camp Horizon since 2006, and as a counselor and board member I have seen over and over again that this is truly a special place where magic happens every day. It is one of my favorite things in the world and I'm very, very lucky to be part of it.
I was a board member of this organization for 3 years, a volunteer for 9 and fundraiser for 7.
I started my Camp Horizon experience as a summer camp counselor in 1999 - I was 38 years old! This wasn't your ordinary summer camp counselor experience - it was life changing....for me, the other volunteers and most importantly, the children served by this amazing organization. Summer camp counselors are partnered with ONE camper for an entire week - to share in the fun activities all children enjoy at camp - but one of the most important things that takes place during the weeklong camp is giving unconditional love to children who may have never experienced it. The camper/counselor relationships grow over the week and continues on for many years later; as Camp Horizon provides programs for foster youth up through age 21.
After a week with my 10 year old camper Mikita, I decided to become involved with the organization by volunteering my time doing marketing communications and then as the part time development director. I was always impressed by the passion and commitment of the camp staff, executive director, board members and volunteers.
Even though I moved to California 3+ years ago, I regularly keep in touch (via facebook) with the former campers who are in their 20's - those that I met in my early years at camp. I am so proud of the young adults they have become - for the decisions they've made in their lives, for being so resilient, for being supportive of each other.... all these many years later.
Camp Horizon has been and will continue to be a blessing to thousands of children, teens and young adults who are become part of the Camp Horizon family.
As we enter our 31st year of serving children in Foster care, I am blessed to have participated for 25 years as a Counselor, Instructor, Staff Member and Board President. My memories and heart are FULL of life-changing experiences for me and scores of children. I have stayed in close contact with two of my former Campers, seeing them both graduate high school and college (GSU and Emory), becoming solid citizens and impressive young men. Without a father-figure for these young men, I'm proud to be "Dad". For dozens more, through Camp Horizon, I know I have helped shape their lives and am a better person for their imprint on mine.
“I went to camp and had the best time. It really does a lot for someone who feels alone and like they have no one. It also gave me something to look forward to, which in foster care is a rare thing.” This powerful statement from a former camper sums up the impact Camp Horizon has on the children who attend.
Camp Horizon is so much more than a weeklong camp. Once children attend the summer camp, we strive to keep them involved in our year-round programs. The campers become a member of the Camp Horizon family. The feelings and magic of camp resurface during the reunions and help lead to long-term growth.
Camp Horizon’s programs provide a fun-filled break from the life the children encounter at home. The experiences expose them to a wonderful world outside their daily lives; a world filled with love, guidance, and support. Through constant positive attention and unconditional acceptance, the children begin to see themselves in a whole new light.
Since 1994, I’ve seen countless lives changed through Camp Horizon. The transformation that takes place is an amazing sight to behold and is difficult, if not impossible, to put into words. For that reason, I encourage people to get involved to experience it first-hand.
I learned about Camp Horizon about a year ago when I was exploring volunteer opportunities. My goal was to find a local, volunteer opportunity that aligned with my interest in working with children whose lives had been impacted by abuse or neglect. I initially spoke with one of the Camp Horizon Board members to learn about the organization and was struck by the passion and commitment I heard as they described Camp Horizon to me. I connected strongly with the Camp's Mission due to experiences I had as an intern therapist. In that role I witnessed the negative effects of abuse and neglect on children, but I also witnessed children's positive response and ability to thrive when provided with acceptance, compassion, support, and positive role models. Since joining the Board of Camp Horizon, I had the opportunity to participate in the Leadership Development Weekend for alumni campers, ages 12 - 18. The maturity, compassion, and positive attitudes of the campers I met that weekend are strong testimony to the value of Camp Horizon's programs. I commend the Camp Horizon Board, Staff, and Volunteers for programs that are focused, well organized, well executed, and most importantly, so very important to the lives of the children they connect with.
I have been involved with Camp Horizon for two years now as a volunteer, and one year as a member of the board of directors. In volunteering with Camp Horizon, I have realized just how much of an impact we can make on the lives of others by showing love, support, and accountability. The children and young adults we serve at camp are truly remarkable people, and they have the tremendous potential to break the cycle of abuse and neglect with the right opportunities and support. Camp Horizon offers that and so much more.
Camp Horizon is the family so many of these young children are missing. It is the support system that shows them how to love, how to grow, and how to become a person that can make their own impact in the world. The one-to-one camper-to-counselor ratio shows the children what it is like to have an adult in their lives that cares deeply and loves truly. They are able to realize that they are worthy of love, success, personal growth, and friendship in one short week.
In my work outside of camp, I also consult for nonprofits, and I can say without a doubt that Camp Horizon's focus on the end-customer, the children, is unwavering and truly incredible. This is an organization to support if you truly want to change the lives of children that have been dealt a hand of cards that would be difficult to handle for the best of us.
There are no adequate words to fully express the experience of Camp Horizon which is best described as a transformation. Young lives are given unconditional love and support to shape and mold them to believe in themselves-to trust that they are a person of worth.The course of life becomes not "I cannot"but rather "I can!" We all have lessons to learn and the children of Camp Horizon inspire me to believe.
I have been involved with Camp Horizon as a volunteer and now as a board member for the past 3 years. While I have worked with numerous non-profit organizations over the years, Camp Horizon is without a doubt the best organization that I've had the privelege of being associated with. Camp Horizon's unique one-to-one counselor-camper relationship for their annual summer camp, their keystone event, has an amazingly positive impact on the lives of these children. Nobody deserves to be put through what these children have had to endure, whether it be physical, sexual, or emotional abuse or neglect. Camp Horizon instills a sense of self-confidence in these children that most of them have never felt before. They are shown tremendous amounts of love and caring, and are made to feel just as important and worthy of a fair chance as the rest of us. Camp Horizon is more than just a non-profit charity organization. It is a family. Children enter the Camp Horizon family at the age of 8 and are supported by the Camp Horizon family, in an official capacity, until the time they reach age 23. This includes the summer camp program for 8-11 year olds, a leadership develop program for 12-18 year olds, and a CHAMPS program for 19-23 year olds, which helps to prepare these wonderful children for whatever challenges life may throw at them. They receive direction around resume creation, job applications, college applications, etc. These programs are all in addition to numerous other annual outings which help to keep the children engaged with the organization throughout the year, and which helps to reinstill their sense of self-worth. The difference that this organization makes in the lives of these children is tangible. Nationally, 46% of foster youth who age out of the system have not completed high school. Only 20% of foster youth enroll in college, and only 3% of foster care alumni complete a 4-year degree. Conversely, 82% of Camp Horizon youth graduate from high school and 64% enroll in college. I am proud to be an active member of this 30 year old organization, and will continue to be involved in a major capacity for years to come. However, to enable us to continue to make such a positive, tangible impact, it is critical that we receive the financial support from our community needed to administer such programs. It is my hope that as we continue to spread the word about this wonderful organization, the financial support will continue to grow as well.
Camp Horizon is a reminder to me that there is so much more that can be done to protect our most precious gifts from God. I support Camp Horizon with both my time and finances because I know that it makes a positive impact in the lives of young people. Every child deserves a loving, supportive and stable family, however life has been unfair to numerous children. Camp Horizon is working to bridge this gap. They do this by setting good examples, encouraging good decision-making, and by letting the children know that they and not their circumstances determine their destiny.
I work for a non-profit that provides life saving organs and tissues to those in need of a transplant. All too many times while visiting the intensive care units I have witnessed the saddest outcome of children that are abused and neglected. These children were not only failed by their parents but by their community. Camp Horizon is one of the few community organizations that have been courageous enough to answer this beacon call to action year after year, by fortifying youth with self worth and pride, in short, they are building a better community.
In this world, it is my belief that we are all connected to one another, if one of us suffers then all of us suffers in some indirect way. Having said that, there is no way that I could have learned about Camp Horizon and its mission and not join it, in answering the call to action.
What could possibly be more important than helping to heal the wounded heart of a child? What could demand more action than child abuse? Who could be more vulnerable than a child in foster care?
Camp horizon has no famous spokesperson. They have no advertising budget. They have no lobbyists or political action committees. What they do have are the most dedicated, compassionate volunteers I have ever known.
Because of these volunteers and the programs designed by them, 82% of Camp Horizon youth graduate high school compared to 46% in foster care nationwide. 64% of them go on to college compared to only 20% in foster care nationwide.
For over 30 years Camp Horizon has been making a positive impact on not just the lives of the children they’ve touched, but on the communities that they live in. I am proud to be a donor, volunteer and board member.