Lions Camp Jack
For the second year in a row, the Lions of San Diego partnered with Whispering Winds to conduct Lions Camp Jack in the scenic mountains of the Cleveland National Forest. This year 60 youth attended the 6-day camp from 3 to 8 July. During the week, the Campers had a chance to enjoy the outdoors, swim, hike, and participate in many other activities.
Volunteers from the Downtown San Diego Lions Club, El Cajon Valley Host Lions Club, San Diego North Park Lions Club, and Spring Valley Lions Club all worked together to make this an awesome experience.
On Wednesday, the Camp hosted ‘Jack Wyatt Day’ and Lions from the El Cajon Valley Host Lions Club led the Campers in a day on the lake where they were able to go boating and fishing. This year the Campers and Lions caught a record 27 fish.
Lions Camp Jack was the dream of its founder, Jack Wyatt, a member of the Downtown San Diego Lions Club.
Jack’s dream was to provide a summer outdoor experience for San Diego’s at-risk youth. The goal is to provide a safe, fun-filled week vacation away from their regular surroundings that would build and perpetuate a friendly relationship with law enforcement personnel to reinforce moral and ethical values and community responsibility.
The dream became a reality in 1996 and has grown stronger each year. Participants attend Camp Jack for free and enjoy activities such as Archery, Arts and Crafts, Aquatics, and Hiking.
Who are the Campers?
Campers at Camp Jack are San Diego-area at-risk youth that are referred by law enforcement and youth-serving agencies. These children come from areas of San Diego where incomes are lowest and crime is highest – these are the high-risk youth of our community. They are chosen for this free week of fun, learning, and relaxation, and return home with a better outlook and a knowledge of people in the community, especially law enforcement officers, that really care about them. The age level is 9 to 12 years old – young enough to be influenced to make better decisions about their lives.
How are the Campers selected?
If you know a youth who qualifies, you can refer them to Kathleen Baldwin at (619) 295-8393, Extension 13, and can receive additional information about referring youth to Camp Jack.
The two major criteria are age (9-12 years old) and the undefined category of “at-risk”. Police, Probation Officers, Foster Family Groups, and Community Organizations can refer youth to Camp Jack. Youth can be awarded a scholarship to Camp Jack if they live in high-crime areas, are eligible for the school free-lunch programs, have had contact with law enforcement, and/or if they have family members that are incarcerated. Youth with inappropriate criminal backgrounds are not accepted.
How much does Camp Jack cost?
Each Camper costs the sponsors $625 for a week of camp, but each Camper is awarded a scholarship that pays this fee, so it is free for the youth to attend.
Camp Jack is run from funds provided by community donors who understand that every youth can benefit from a week of clean air, an safe environment away from gangs and drug violence, and a place they can make new and lasting friends.
Does Camp Jack work?
The Lions have found and long-term national data shows that after one week of camp 96% of Campers improved performance in the following areas: communication with others, accepting responsibilities, self-reliance, self-esteem, participation in recreation, skill achievement, and self-help skills.
Camp Jack has received many calls from parents stating, “Thanks, you gave me back my child.” We understand that not all miracles happen in a week, but year after year, Campers have asked to return and Camp Jack and the camp has several past participants that serve as Counselors in Training. So, yes, it works!
How can you help?
Providing a free camping experience for over 300 at-risk youth every year is a costly venture. Lions Camp Jack receives major donations from the Downtown San Diego Lions Club, Lions Clubs of San Diego County, the Boys & Girls Foundation, and many other generous sponsors. However, Camp Jack also relies on assistance of individual community donors like you.
If you or your organization can sponsor one or more of these deserving youngsters, please complete and submit the Send a Kid to Camp form and send your gift to the address at the bottom. Your donation is fully tax deductible as Camp Jack is a 501(c)(3) Charity (EIN 33-0939506).
Camp Jack is community involvement in its best form.