Margo Fudge, County of San Diego Child Welfare Services
At the start of the inaugural 2008 Camp Connect session, as the kids lined up to board the bus, one young boy refused to go to camp if his brother was not going to be there. As it turned out, the boy’s brother was standing less than five feet away from him, but because they hadn’t seen each other in several years, he no longer recognized him.
That was the moment that solidified the need for Camp Connect.
Through a partnership between Promises2Kids and the County of San Diego, Camp Connect reunites siblings in foster care, who have been placed in separate homes, and gives them the opportunity to reconnect through a four-day summer camp, as well as recreational and educational day camp activities throughout the year.
The annual summer camp is held in the mountains of Julian and helps siblings connect through activities such as horseback riding, swimming, music therapy and zip lining, among others. Camp provides these children with an environment of fun and safety, allowing them to experience the joy of being a kid while spending much-needed time with their brothers or sisters.
There are approximately 300 foster youth at any given time across San Diego County separated from one or more siblings. Camp Connect ensures they have the opportunity to visit and maintain their relationships with each other.
This year, camp was held August 4-7, with 51 youth in attendance.
On the final night, one young camper began to sob, saying he was not ready to leave his siblings. He implored the organizers to make camp longer to maximize time with his brother and sister.
Another boy, who had been to camp several times over the years, said this was his "best summer memory" and the "best camp he had ever been to.”
In addition to offering an incredible experience for the kids, the 2022 session solidified an ongoing partnership between Promises2Kids and the County of San Diego Child Welfare Services, Medical Care Services, and Public Health Services. The County teams provided nursing staff, pharmacists, and on-call medical doctors to assist with medication administration, first aid, and COVID testing.
To learn more about the Camp Connect program, or to donate or volunteer, please visit: