Making a Difference - Camp Programs Give Back to the Community

There can be no doubt that camp is unique – changing the lives of millions of children and youth through positive, intentional experiences. And, just like the experience, the camp community is uniquely positioned to make a difference. By continually striving to do more, be more, and reach more, the camp community supports programs that provide the life-changing experience of camp to children and youth who might not otherwise have had the opportunity.

  • Fresh Air Fund — This independent, nonprofit agency, has provided free summer vacations to more than 1.7 million New York City children from low-income communities since 1877. In 2009, close to 5,000 children visited volunteer host families in suburbs and small town communities across 13 states from Virginia to Maine and Canada. Three thousand children also attended five Fresh Air camps on a 2,300-acre site in Fishkill, New York. The Fund's year-round camping program serves an additional 2,000 young people each year. For more information on the Fresh Air Fund, families can visit
  • Henderson County Young Leaders Program — Started in 1994, the Henderson County Young Leaders Program (HCYLP) is a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation operating under an independent, volunteer board of directors. Program partners include the Henderson County Public Schools, the Boys & Girls Club of Henderson County, and representatives of the local summer camp community. By providing a progression of residential camp, mentoring, and monthly educational experiences to Henderson County children who would otherwise lack such opportunity, the program is developing future community leaders. Families can follow HCYLP on Facebook, or contact the program director, Paige Hafner, at (828) 697-2000 for more information.
  • The Main Idea — Founded in 1968, this program was started as a way to provide a positive camp experience to girls ages 9 to 14, regardless of economic status. The Main Idea has created an atmosphere that builds self-confidence, promotes leadership skills, and provides a trusting and secure environment where campers learn to live together, set new goals, and enjoy the natural splendor surrounding them. Each year, about 120 girls participate in the program at Camp Walden in Denmark, Maine, and more than half of these are returning campers. For more information on The Main Idea, families can visit
  • Operation Purple® — During the 2010 summer, the National Military Family Association's Operation Purple program is sending nearly 10,000 kids to 68 camps nationwide. The program was created in 2004 to help military children deal with the stresses of having a deployed parent, and to remind them that "Kids Serve Too!" Families can visit for more information on Operation Purple, or other services provided by the Association.

The American Camp Association® (ACA) reminds families that there truly is a camp for every child and every situation. For more information on the life-changing experience of camp, or to use ACA's Find a Camp database to find the perfect camp experience for your child, visit In addition, families can follow ACA on Facebook and Twitter for helpful hints and camp information.

Contact Public Relations at 765.349.3317 or to interview an ACA spokesperson or for more information about the camp experience. For customizable public service announcements or article reprints, visit our Media Center at

About ACA
The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit