Good Times This Summer
The 14th annual Camp Chance was a success! Your support enabled us to provide this camping experience for kids whose families are not ordinarily able to afford expensive residential summer camps. We returned to Walker Creek Ranch with 59 campers and six alumni counselors-in-training (CIT’s) for the week of July 8–12, 2013. In addition, we recruited nine seasoned camp counselors all over the age of 18, who worked in close partnership with CIT’s.
The Kids Benefit
This year, we raised over $50,000 from 205 generous individuals and businesses which all went towards the $46,000 it took to fund Camp Chance this summer and give at-risk youth an opportunity for a better future. Thank you for joining us in this community partnership — we were able to meet all the operating costs for this year’s 5-day session of Camp Chance.
Kids in our community benefit from this program and we are very proud of how it’s changing the lives of our youth. Even our program alumni have the opportunity to stay involved by returning as counselors-in-training (CIT’s). These kids are older, usually between 15 and 17 years old, and help facilitate the Camp Chance program. The CIT’s and camp counselors arrived at Walker Creek Ranch for two weekend orientation sessions before camp began to help design the camp curriculum. At the end of camp, one of our counselors reflected, “I absolutely loved working at Camp Chance. It was an amazing experience that helped me grow personally, professionally and emotionally.”
And They’re Off!
Once campers settled into their cabins, met their cabin mates and took swim tests, it was off to the first of many interactive firstresponder activities. On Tuesday morning the kids met members of the Marin County Sheriff and San Rafael Police Crime Scene Investigation (CSI) teams who taught the campers how to dust for fingerprints, use a metal detector to sweep the ground for buried coins, and make a mold of footprints.
SWAT Team Demo
San Rafael Police Sergeant Roy Leon, a member of the SRPD SWAT Team, and Deputy Sheriff Domenick Yazzolino of the Marin County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) provided the kids with the popular SWAT presentation on Wednesday morning. This team consists of highly trained deputies and police officers who are specially equipped to deal with crisis situations that are beyond the scope of normal patrol operations. Campers listened to Sgt. Leon and Deputy Yazzolino describe the different types of equipment used, as well as the special training that each member of the team undergoes.
This year, SRPD Corporal and SWAT Team member Scott Ingels brought out the SWAT robot. This advanced device looks like an armored remote control car with rubber treads for wheels, and is equipped with a camera system, a robotic arm and an all-terrain tracked platform designed for SWAT. Corporal Ingels put the robot through its paces, including righting it remotely after a camper flipped it on its back. After the presentation, the kids were given the opportunity to check out some of the equipment more closely, and even wear some of the special gear used by SRT/SWAT members.
Firefighting, Search and Rescue
After lunch, the campers had a visit from Marin County Firefighters assigned to the Hicks Valley Fire Station, which is located between Point Reyes and Petaluma. This station provides protection for numerous ranches and is dispatched into Sonoma County routinely as a mutual aid resource. Members of the Marin County Search and Rescue Team also presented to the campers. They talked about what they do, described the training they receive and displayed some of their gear.
Life Skills Basics
The San Rafael Police Youth Services Bureau leads camp kids through interactive small group workshops, focusing on important life skills. We’re seeing a rise in the level of stress and generalized anxiety disorders in our juvenile clients, so the YSB interns picked stress management as this year’s topic. During the session, kids were encouraged to identify stressors they experience in their lives and learned coping techniques for managing their thoughts and feelings in healthy ways.
For many of the campers the day trip to Drake’s Beach at Pt. Reyes National Seashore is the first time they have experienced nature and open space unencumbered by buildings or freeways. Counselors and peace officers are quick to organize games of catch and football. If the surf is cooperating, kids play in the water under the watchful eye of staff. The CIT’s help set up and serve a delicious BBQ lunch. Everyone works up a hearty appetite and it’s not unusual to see some napping on the beach before another round of games and the late afternoon ride back to Walker Creek Ranch.
Donor Spotlight — Arthur C. Latno, Jr. With the continued support of Arthur C. Latno, Jr., we are able to send several kids to camp chance each year. What a remarkable individual. We thank you, Mr. Latno, for your continued support of Camp Chance!
Mr. Latno retired from Pacific Telesis Group as an Executive Vice President. His proficiency in strategic planning was recognized by the City of San Francisco when he was selected to serve on the City’s Port of San Francisco Strategic Planning Advisory Panel. He has been involved with the Marin General Hospital Foundation, the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco and numerous other community organizations.
Mr. Latno is also a former U.S. Ambassador and Chairman of the U.S. Delegation Treaty Conference in Melbourne, Australia, and a former Chairman of the Board of Trustees and Past President of Board of Regents of St. Mary’s College in California. He was a recipient of the Anti-Defamation League’s Americanism Award and the Friends of the Human Rights Commission’s Human Rights Award.
Winemaker Dinner 2014 — Save the Date
Our fourth annual Camp Chance winemaker dinner and live auction, hosted by San Rafael Joe’s and Schug Carneros Estate Winery of Sonoma is scheduled for Saturday, March 8, 2014. Guests will have the opportunity to mingle and enjoy appetizers while perusing the silent auction items available for bid. The delicious four-course meal will be prepared by the chefs of San Rafael Joe’s with Michael Cox, Schug winemaker on hand to describe their wines paired with each course. Last year this event sold out, so make your reservations now: call or email Rebecca Kuga at 415-485-3025.
Help Keep the Magic Alive!
Preparations for Camp Chance 2014 have begun. We will be returning to Walker Creek Ranch. It costs $800 to send one child to Camp Chance for the 5-day program and the need for this program continues to grow. Please share what you can by sending your tax-deductible donation in the enclosed envelope made out to “San Rafael – Camp Chance.” Our tax-exempt number is 94-6000424.
Infused with enthusiasm and hope for the future, we look forward to working with you for the continued welfare of Marin’s children!