TheZone, like every other summer camp, has its own unique focus and flavor. At TheZone, a key focus is to initiate long-term mentoring partnerships between campers and staff. Camp is only the beginning of the warm relationships that develop over the course of a few short weeks. Our staff members continue to keep in touch with campers throughout the year. We have seen that consistent mentorship with caring, trained staff, can work wonders at bringing out the best in our “Zoniacs.”
Through our small grants program, Kars4Kids has had the privilege of broadening its reach by supporting other summer camps, each with their own mission. STEM learning, for instance, is critical as a foundation for many jobs in our high tech world. Science Camps of America, immerses campers in full day activities that get kids excited about science. These campers, it is hoped, may end up pursuing academic and professional opportunities that might otherwise have escaped their interest.
Hartford Camp Courant, on the other hand, is distinguished by being longest-running free summer day camp, operating since 1894. You don’t manage to stay in operation for 128 years by not having a winning formula for fun, learning, and imparting leadership skills. Camp Courant has served some 125,000 children since that first summer. For sheer service alone, this summer camp deserves our respect and support.
We Support Summer Camps that Lead to College
Project Morry, like TheZone, sticks with campers for the long-term, with mentorship and incentives for staying in and getting good grades in school. This summer camp philosophy has borne fruit: 85% of Project Morry graduates go on to college or enlist in the military compared to 67% of low-income students nationally. 77% of Project Morry alumni are the first in their family to attend college. The Project Morry curriculum emphasizes the Four C’s of 21st Century Skills: critical thinking, communication, collaboration, and creativity. Research, as it turns out, has found that consistent focus on these skills leads to long-term career and academic success.
The Merry Heart Children’s Camp serves a completely different purpose, ensuring that children with heart conditions have a medically safe and satisfying camp experience, one they might otherwise not have. Parents of campers can relax a bit, knowing they can trust their child’s medical needs to be properly attended to. Children with chronic and life threatening diseases can benefit from meeting other children like themselves, and from just having fun.
Girls don’t always receive the encouragement they need to be strong, independent go-getters. West End House Girls Camp was created specifically for the purpose of bolstering self-esteem and demonstrating that girls can do and be anything they want. The model for this summer camp is so successful that campers often later return as counselors!
A Personal Welcome for Foster Children
Foster children are often not celebrated or loved as children raised by biological or adoptive parents tend to be. Camp Horizon helps its foster children campers to feel special, sometimes for the first time in their lives. Each camper is greeted coming off the bus, with a sign welcoming them by name. It’s a beautiful and touching sight that would move anyone with a heart not made of stone.
We hope to support summer camps, each with their own important mission, for many years to come. For us, it’s all about the kids and making their dreams come true.