Giving siblings their right to reunite
Camp To Belong Washington serves brothers and sisters ages 8-18 with ties to Washington state who live separately due to foster care placement in different homes. Transportation is provided for all Eastern Washington campers attending our Western Washington camp at Miracle Ranch in Port Orchard and to all Western Washington campers attending our Eastern Washington camp at Camp Gifford in Deer Lake. Transportation is provided through CTB WA's partnership with the Washington Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
"If I had the choice of spending a year in Hawaii or 45 seconds with my brother, I would choose my brother."
Camp To Belong Washington isn't just a camp; it's a safe place that inspires, gives hope and heals.
Camp To Belong Washington makes a difference
The outcomes for a child attending a CTB WA camp include more and strengthened connections between siblings, improved self-esteem, increased sense of hope, increased resiliency, enhanced conflict management and self-advocacy skills and growth of a wider support network.
Signature camp events
The intentional programming of Camp To Belong Washington is delivered through our Signature events.
Signature events are designed to support the mental, emotional and relational health of campers. Our Signature events also promote healing and positive behavior. Camp To Belong is one of the few programs in the United States designed specifically to address the sibling relationships of kids who are separated from their brothers and sisters by foster care placements.
Since many separated siblings miss holidays, birthdays and other life events together, a camp-wide birthday party enables them to celebrate! Campers choose gifts from our Birthday Shop, wrap them and create birthday cards for their brother or sister. One evening at camp is set aside for the birthday party, including birthday cakes, the gift exchange gifts and more festivities.
Sibling pillows and quilts
Brothers and sisters create and exchange pillows or quilts with personal messages of love and encouragment to each other. They provide a take-home keepsake and comfort object for their siblings. Here's how one chid expressed her feelings on a pillow:
"I love you Lamont. I think about you
all the time, when you see this I want
you to think about me."
We devote an evening designed to reduce isolation, empower youth and provide positive role models. The night features inspirational guest speakers and siblings sharing their stories and messages with other campers, Inspiration Night contributes to each young person's ability to respond to conflict and grief, to improve self-esteem and to foster
hope and healing.
Campers who are 14 and above attend the Life Empowerment Seminar. The program is designed to empower older youth to advocate for their rights and to provide post-high school educational and career-path resources. Included is information on many education options - from trade schools to four-year colleges, education funding sources and other supports available to help foster youth succeed as they become independent young adults.
Each camper receives a scrapbook, decorative materials and printed photos of their week at camp. On the last day of camp, he or she creates a memory album of their experiences and special moments during the week. The scrapbooks are mementos that include written messages to one another and personal reflections about the week. For so many children in care, this memory album will contain the only photographs they have from their childhood.
Traditional camp activities
Throughout camp, campers participate in traditional camp activities, including canoeing, horseback riding, swimming, a ropes course, archery and rock wall climbing. For some, these activities are a first, and what better way to make new memories than with your brother or sister!