Camp Child - YMCA Helena, MT

The Dillon Foundation is a proud sponsor of the YMCA of Helena, Montana. Thanks to our donations, various children have been able to attend Camp Child.

Camp Child is an open and welcoming place where children are challenged in quality, values oriented programs and activities. The legacy of Camp Child began in 1943 when the Harry S. Child family donated 17 acres to the Helena Family YMCA. Today campers enjoy spending a week with our dedicated and caring counselors learning about themselves, learning about their natural world and learning how to protect it, ensuring the legacy of leadership will live on for generations.

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Camp Child 2017

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Camp Child 2016

Though the story is true the name of the Child has been changed and his signature has been omitted. This is done to protect the sensitive nature of the child's home and personal info.

Albert, age 8, attended his first summer camp at YMCA Camp Child on a Camp Access Grant. Eight months before attending camp, when Albert was in the first grade, he and his two younger brother were removed from their home and placed in foster care, after suffering years of neglect due to parental drug use. Albert is generally quiet and introverted, and has a hard time expressing himself, especially with adults. He had been through a lot of transitions recently, and did not have a lot of trust in adults to make sure he was safe and cared for. Albert was excited to attend camp, but reluctant to do something without his brothers, for whom he unfortunately had been a primary caregiver.

Within a few days of starting camp, the Camp Director reported that Albert had become so homesick and worried about his brothers, that he was actually physically ill and throwing up, and would probably need to be picked up mid-week and not finish camp. However, the Camp Director, Paul, helped Albert work through his anxieties, and when it came time for his foster mom to come pick up, he had a change of heart and saw the week through. He felt very empowered by his ability to overcome his fears, and ended up having fun experiences, fond memories and lasting friendships from Camp. He also developed a trusting relationship with a healthy adult, Paul, and his other counselors, and was able to open up and communicate his needs and feeling, which is huge. This year Albert was returned to Family's Care and would not have had the opportunity to attend Camp if not for Donor support, not only did Albert want to return to camp for a second time, he was a different kid right off the bat.

Instead of being homesick and worried, he was confident, present and fully enjoyed every aspect of the camp experience, especially “survival” a new activity in his second year. In fact, during the first days of his second year at camp (which he was able to attend due to a generous donor’s sponsorship) Albert ended up counseling the first-time campers in how to overcome homesickness! He was able to empathize with the first year campers and apply the confidence and skills he learned in his first year to help them get through similar feelings, encouraging them that he had got through it and they could too. Camp was an amazing exercise in perseverance and resiliency for Albert that will be an important foundation for him for a successful healthy future, and which he otherwise would not have had a chance to experience. He also gained peace of mind that adults could care for his brothers in his absence, which did improve the unhealthy care-giving and control dynamic within his foster family with his brother. Albert gained so much confidence and had just plain good old fashioned kid fun at Camp, when for so long he really had not been able to feel safe just being a kid. Thank you from Albert, his foster family and bio-family for the donation that made this incredible camp experience possible for him.

Thank You,
Paul Davidson--

Paul Davidson
Teen-service Coordinator
Helena Family YMCA

Helena Family YMCA Camp Child

Camp Child 2015

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Camp Child 2014

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Camp Child Team Thank-You Letter


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