VAN WERT, Ohio – This summer, The Marsh Foundation Foster Care Division held a successful day camp for youth in their clinical program. There were a total of 14 youth ranging in age from 5 to 15 who participated. The camp was held for one week from 9 a.m. until noon each day. The camp featured a theme each day, friendship, kindness, emotions, choices and leadership.
According to Melissa Snyder, foster care director, the purpose of the camp was to allow the youth to come together, participate in fun activities, while also learning positive character traits. “It was an amazing adventure and all of the kids were very well behaved,” she said. “It was great for our staff to get to know the kids on a more personal level and it was also cool to see them form friendships among themselves.” An additional perk to the camp, was the free time the foster parents got those mornings.
Each day, the activities coordinated with the theme and included activity pages, deep breathing, yoga, dance parties, games, reading, crafts and group parachute activities. Some crafts included friendship bracelets and heart sun catchers. Each day, lunch was provided by The Marsh kitchen staff. Friday included zip lining and rock wall climbing at Camp Clay for the older kids. This was part reward for helping throughout the week, but also emphasized leadership, teamwork and being a good role model.
Beth Dye, foster care clinician, along with the rest of the department staffed the camp. They considered it a huge success for their first camp. “Several of our parents commented that it was an incredible experience for their kids,” Dye said. One of the biggest benefits of the camp, according to Dye, was that kids got to meet other kids who are in similar situations to their own. “These are kids who understand better than anyone what they are all going through, as there are different sets of concerns and anxieties that kids who are unable to live with their biological parents experience.”
Dye took the lead when it came to planning the camp and according to Snyder did an excellent job. “I also think it’s important to make note of all of the extra work she put in to make this possible. She went above and beyond to give our kids this amazing experience,” Snyder said.
The Marsh Foundation is a not-for-profit children services agency that provides services for youth and families in a variety of settings. Services include residential care, family foster care (ages 0-17), adoption and independent living services. Located in Van Wert, Ohio, the organization is licensed to provide on-campus services for up to 30 children, offers an on-campus school for grades 2 – 12, and provides a variety of clinical services to campus residents, foster care children and community members.
Photo caption: Activities at The Marsh foster care day camp included rock climbing, dance parties, crafts and much more.