Camp Avary is a summer camp for highly at-risk children, who through no fault of their own, face daunting life challenges owing to their parent’s involvement in the criminal justice system. Children receive customized training that builds confidence and essential social and life skills they need to make healthy choices in their young lives.
Research shows that children of incarcerated parents suffer stigma, loss of financial support, weakened ties to parents, and are at increased risk of abuse or neglect. Over the long-term children are likely to exhibit aggression, defiance, and disobedience as well as depression, anxiety, and withdrawal. Without early intervention and long-term support such as Project Avary offers, children of incarcerated parents are susceptible to physical or sexual abuse, will likely perform poorly in school, and may become involved in the juvenile justice system.
In 2013 Project Avary will host over 50 children ages 8 to 18 at Camp Avary, its annual summer camp. Camp Avary is located on Hwy 128, just three miles outside of Booneville.
Children at Camp Avary participate in discussion groups and exercises that build insight into their personal circumstances, develop a sense of belonging to a community of supportive peers and caring adults, and engage in learning activities that build important life skills. Project Avary teens build important job readiness skills by helping staff the camp as junior counselors.
Campers participate in a daily routine of theater, art, and conflict resolution training that builds nonviolent communications skills. At the conclusion of camp, children are evaluated on several socio-emotional indicators. The evaluation shows that children with a minimum of two years participation in Project Avary demonstrate progress or maintenance of progress in communications, anger management, conflict resolution, leadership, goal setting, and a sense of belonging to a significant community. The average rate of participation among Project Avary children is slightly over five years.
There are 2.1 million children in the U.S. - 850,000 in California - with a parent in prison, on parole, or otherwise involved in the criminal justice system.
After beginning with a summer camp for 32 children in 1999, Project Avary has evolved into a multifaceted, year-round membership organization serving an average of 100 Bay Area children and teens and approximately 70 caregivers each year. Project Avary is an early prevention/ intervention program that enrolls young children ages 8 to 10 and strives to keep them engaged in a four-part curriculum until age 18 regardless of changes in living conditions and residences. The curriculum focuses on environmental awareness, social and emotional skills development, independent living skills and leadership development.
Please support Camp Avary where children of incarcerated parents can enjoy nature free of the stigma and shame that normally surround them and where they can acquire the insights, confidence, and life tools for a successful transition to young adulthood.
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