February 16, 2012

Camp Max Straus: A Secular Camp for Low-Income Children

One of the things I love most about working in Community Mental Health is the wealth of information exchanged between clinicians and other staff at the agency. Even though I've lived in Los Angeles for the past 26 years (with a brief hiatus in 2003-2007 to attend college in the midwest), I am learning that there are countless agencies, programs, resources, etc. that I knew nothing about. 

During our staff meeting this past Wednesday, one of my colleagues handed me an application to Camp Max Straus, a summer camp for low-income children run by the Jewish Big Brothers and Sisters Foundation of Los Angeles. There are seven 5-6 day sessions throughout the summer, running from June 24th through August 9th. The list of camp activities is pretty standard, including archery, dance, horseback riding, hikes, arts and crafts, etc. Camp Max Straus offers families a unique value-add, by sending children and their families home with a post-camp report summary of the child's experience over the summer. Through the report, children's parents gain insight into how well their child adjusted to the camp experience, interacted with other children and counselors, and their behavior over the session.

With regards to cost, camp tuition runs $200 for the 5-day session, and $250 for the 6-day session. However, the camp does operate on a sliding scale, so several families who cannot afford the tuition can often go for much less. To request an application for a child from Max Straus, you can call (323) 456-1152 or email Alba@campmaxstraus.org.

Lastly, the camp also offers employment opportunities. Given our training, I think this is a great opportunity for social work students to put their clinical skills to use (and of course, a chance to earn some cash).

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