Dear Camp Chance Supporters:
We are thrilled to report that the 14th annual Camp Chance was a success! We returned to Walker Creek Ranch with twenty-nine campers and six alumni cabin leaders for the week of July 9 – 13, 2012.
The kids in our community continue to benefit from this program and we are very proud of how it’s changing the lives of our youth. The officers and deputies who volunteer at Camp Chance are full of stories of running into campers on the street while on patrol and the connections are positive and noteworthy.
One deputy told the story of observing a group of boys walking down a street in Marin City. He knew that some of the kids were affiliated with a local gang. As he drove his vehicle closer to the group, one of the boys turned around and both deputy and teen recognized each other from Camp Chance. What ensued was a friendly conversation between the deputy and all the boys. The Camp Chance alum even asked the deputy for the dates of the next camp, and told his friends to apply because “it’s a great time.” Building rapport and trust is the cornerstone of our program and it’s examples like this one that show us that we are reaching our goals of helping kids stay on the right path.
Your continued support enabled us to provide this camping experience for kids whose families are not ordinarily able to afford expensive residential summer camps. Because you have joined us in this community partnership, we were able to meet all the operating costs for the 5-day session of Camp Chance. This year, we raised $24,000 from 125 generous individuals and businesses which all went towards the $34,000 it took to fund Camp Chance this summer and give at-risk youth an opportunity for a better future.
Getting ready to head home after a great camp!
We had all the great events and activities that make Camp Chance such a wonderful program. The kids arrived on Monday and were greeted by their cabin leaders and Walker Creek Ranch staff. The first day is always dedicated to camp orientation: checking into cabins, learning about the camp safety guidelines and taking a swim test at Turtle Pond. The first night is opening circle, when the campers give some thought to what they would like to get out of their week.
This year Camp Chance had a very special contributor to the program when Project Linus contacted SRPD. Project Linus was named after the security blanket-toting character from the Peanuts© comic strip. It is a volunteer non-profit organization that gives at-risk children the gift of a new, handmade blanket or afghan lovingly created by volunteer “blanketeers.”
When Peanuts© creator Charles Schulz became aware of the efforts of these volunteers, he was delighted to have Linus inspire these blanket makers to help comfort children in need. Jenny Giacomini, the Project Linus Chapter Coordinator for the North Bay/Sonoma County, contacted SRPD and offered to make a blanket for every camper who attended Camp Chance!
In addition, each handmade blanket or afghan came with a Beanie Baby© selected especially to coordinate with that particular blanket. Even though campers are provided with a packing list, many children don’t own and can’t afford to purchase a sleeping bag or other camping gear that’s recommended so receiving a handmade blanket was a most welcome gift.
Laurie Ferguson (l) and Jenny Giacomini (r) of Project Linus
Once the campers settled in to their cabins and gathered for orientation, it was off to Turtle Pond for swim tests and a hike along Walker Creek, the namesake waterway that runs through the property. This year Camp Chance enjoyed daytime temperatures that soared up into the 80’s and spending time at Turtle Pond was a welcome respite from the heat.
On Tuesday, the campers gathered for the first interactive presentation. Crime Scene Investigation team members from SRPD and Marin County Sheriff Office arrived in the morning to teach campers about how this valuable asset to solving crimes functions. Stations were set up to allow the kids to dust for fingerprints, use a metal detector to sweep a grassy area for coins and make plaster casts of footprints.
Peggy Ruge, a San Rafael Police Community Service Officer and member of the CSI team, has participated in Camp Chance many times. She enjoys it very much, particularly helping the kids distinguish between “real police work and what kids see on TV.”
SRPD CSI members Marc LaPlante and Peggy Ruge
Wednesday is always a big day at Camp Chance. That is usually the day when campers get a visit from the Marin County Sheriff’s Office Special Response Team (SRT) and the San Rafael Police SWAT Team. This presentation is always very popular with the kids and this year was no different. These teams consist 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 Detective Corporal Todd Berringer and Corporal Scott Ingels from San Rafael Police, as well as Deputy Domenick Yazzolino from MCSO explain the different types of gear, the uses of the gear and the training team members go through to join this elite group. After the presentation, campers were given the opportunity to check out some of the equipment more closely, and even wear some of the special equipment used by SRT/SWAT members.
Marin County Sheriff’s SRT van and Deputy Yazzolino
On Wednesday, 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. We also had a visit from the CHP’s Golden Gate Division Air Operations helicopter, where it landed on the athletic field; always a very spectacular entrance!
CHP helicopter after landing at Walker Creek Ranch
The day capped off with a presentation from Marin County firefighters assigned to the Hicks Valley Fire Station, located between Point Reyes Station and Petaluma. This station provides protection for numerous ranches and is dispatched into Sonoma County routinely as a mutual aid resource. Hicks Valley is unique because it protects the last three remaining one-room school houses in Marin County.
Hicks Valley Pumpers
The San Rafael Police Youth Services Bureau provides kids a life skills component through an interactive workshop. Because bullying continues to be a hot topic for kids, the Youth Services Bureau intern counselors presented another workshop on the topic over the course of the week to each age group of campers. The interns used role-plays to help kids effectively deal with insults, slurs, threats and other tactics that bullies may use to victimize peers.
Also addressed was how to handle cyber bullying and stop rumors. The interns helped the children look at their own behaviors towards others, as well as when to turn to adults for help. Kids were able to express themselves in a safe environment with the guidance of experienced intern therapists who have chosen to cultivate working with adolescents as an area of expertise. The life skills component of Camp Chance continues to be well received and one that we will continue to offer.
YSB intern counselors and campers at the bully workshop
Always popular is the day trip to Drake’s Beach at Pt. Reyes National Seashore. After breakfast, the campers load up on buses for the ride out to the beach, which takes about 45 minutes. Staff and peace officers are quick to set up games of catch and football. If the surf is cooperating, kids play in the water under the watchful eye of adults and cabin leaders.
A delicious BBQ lunch of hot dogs, hamburgers, chips and various other delectable treats appear around noon. Everyone has a hearty appetite and it’s not unusual to see some napping on the beach before another round of games. In the late afternoon, everyone piles back on to the buses, which are generally pretty quiet with sleepy, sandy campers.
This year kids saw an abundance of wildlife at Walker Creek Ranch, including foxes and a bobcat who had taken up residence at the facility. Campers would gather in the amphitheatre in the morning after breakfast and were often transfixed by the various wildlife sightings. For many of these children, it was the first time they saw the ocean surf, played on a beach, saw unencumbered open space or watched animals in their natural environment.
Camp Chance 2012 Supporters
We gratefully acknowledge all of our generous donors, without whom Camp Chance would not be possible, and we apologize for any unintended omissions.
Marin County Board of Supervisors
Arthur C. and Joan G. Latno
The Bishop Pine Fund
Dr. Catherine J. Bell, M.D.
Peter C. Kerner
Michael E. Winter
Dr. John H. Kaufmann, M.D.
Marin County Deputy Sheriffs Assoc.
San Rafael Police Association
San Rafael Police Dept. Mid Management Association
Jim and Barbara Abernathy
Helen Kennedy Cahill
Jeff and Joni Franzini
Rebecca Kuga and Irene Gilbert
Jane Malloy Thornton
Miguel and Rose Medina, Jr.
Robert and Leslie Smith
Joel Fay and Anne Buscho
John and Patricia Godsey
Gary and Nancy Gugliemotto
Rod and Kathy Mehrten
Mark S. and Kay P. Noguchi
Robert and Shirley Sanderson
Darren and Samantha Sargent
Kerry Scola Sarah Snow
Elfriede A. Tucker
Raymond and Rosalie Weigle
Julie Wooding and Curt Wise
Richard and Dorothy Breiner
Mary Jane Burke
Norman and Patricia Davis
Dolores G. Delgado
Don and Ann Gregory
Gary and Jennifer Grellman
Burton and Antonia Hirshfield
Helen L. LaHaye
Louis and Jeanne Leoncini
James and Lucile Masson, Jr.
Paul and Adrienne Moser
Alan M. and Helen-Marie Petersen
Joseph and Elda Saccone
Richard and Patricia Skidmore
Ruben and Rhea Valtierra
Up to $100
Elmer and Mary Berger
Todd and Jackie Berringer
Maxfield and Nancy Brown
Marlene J. Casissa
William Cereske, Jr.
Jim and Laura Correa
Dieter and Stephanie Czirr
Charles C Dagit
Renee and Paul Devaux
Steve and Kathy Easley
Richard and Francine Falk
Sergio and Diana Franco
Lyman and Pam Gilbert
Ken and Alba Giomi
HR Business Solutions
Robert and Mary Ellen
Irwin Leonard Jann
Barbara Sorensen and Richard Johnson
Sue Ann Joy
Marilyn P. Kelly
Roberta A. Kemp
Robert and Lee Kohs
Roy and Jessica Leon
Luke and Margaret McCann
Peter and Candy McCorkell
Sandy and William Mixsell
Jack A. Rauch
Katherine and Daniel
Ravina Michael Ridgway
Jane D. Toffaleti
Hans and Michele Van Heusden
Schug Carneros Estate Winery
Osmosis Day Spa
San Rafael Joe’s
San Rafael Pacifics
The resident bobcat
3rd Annual Camp Chance Benefit Dinner March 9, 2013
Schug Carneros Estate Winery and San Rafael Joe’s are partnering with San Rafael Police Department to benefit Camp Chance. Last year this event sold out. Call Rebecca Kuga at 415-485-3025 to purchase tickets.
Guests will have the opportunity to mingle, enjoy appetizers and peruse the silent auction items available for bid. The delicious four-course meal will be prepared by the chefs of San Rafael Joe’s and Michael Cox, Schug winemaker extraordinaire, will describe wines that are perfectly paired with each course. Last year eighty-eight people attended so please make your reservations now.
Winemaker Mike Cox (center) at San Rafael Joe’s
Camp Chance has moved into the digital age by launching www.campchanceconnect.org! We are very excited about this method of communicating with our supporters and you’ll be able to read about current events, see a lot more photos and donate securely online. We also promise to never share your e-mail address with other organizations.
Our fund-raising efforts are in full swing so that we can continue to offer this valuable program to at-risk, under-served children. This year we received support from Union Bank, who sponsored three campers this summer by providing a donation through the Union Bank Community Foundation. This partnership will continue for Camp Chance 2013 with Union Bank’s continued support of our program.
Union Bank VP, Mike Audi and SRPD Chief Diana Bishop
This summer, Camp Chance also partnered with the San Rafael Pacifics baseball team who offered a baseball clinic for youth ages 10 – 15. The clinic was taught by Pacifics coaches and players and all proceeds benefited Camp Chance. It was a great day capped off by a Pacifics victory at Albert Park later that evening.
It is because of our donors that at-risk kids in our community can attend Camp Chance and be exposed to the activities and people who can help these kids make healthy choices for a better life.
Help Keep the Magic Alive!
The preparations for Camp Chance 2013 are already ongoing and we will be returning to Walker Creek Ranch with another awesome program for the kids. Despite the planning and logistics that goes into making Camp Chance happen, we want to take a moment and give thanks to all of our donors. Through your support we provided a wonderful summer experience for seventy-two children from our community.
It costs $900 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.
— Diana Bishop, Chief of Police
— Robert T. Doyle, Marin County Sheriff
Dusting for prints during the CSI presentation
Thank you for sending us to Camp Chance!
Relaxing after swim time at Turtle Pond
Lt. McElderry and Chief Bishop at Turtle Pond. It was 80 F! Good friends, good times...
Deputy Yazzolino coaching a camper