MISSOURI – (August 27, 2019) – Today, national youth development organization Camp Fire and the New York Life Foundation announced an expansion of their existing partnership to reach an additional 10,000 middle school youth in 25 cities across the country during the pivotal transition to high school. The expansion is funded by a three-year, $1 million grant from the New York Life Foundation. Camp Fire and the New York Life Foundation began their partnership in 2012 and together have impacted more than 45,000 students as they transition from middle school to high school.
“Camp Fire’s framework incorporates key social and emotional learning concepts, leading to positive relationships and a higher likelihood of succeeding in school for the students who participate in Camp Fire’s programs,” said Marlyn Torres, senior program officer, the New York Life Foundation. “The expansion of our relationship will help more students prepare for the transition to high school and build brighter futures— a key component of our partnerships is helping to build stronger academic foundations for students in middle school during the critical afterschool and summer hours.”
With the $1 million grant, 25 Camp Fire affiliates across the country will engage in concentrated efforts from 2019-2021 to deepen the impact of middle school programming. The deep-dive with select affiliates enables the organization to expand proven best practices across the council network – establishing new programs in underserved areas. The grant supports three key initiatives:
· Increase youth Social and Emotional Learning (SEL) skills through Camp Fire’s research-based SEL program framework through the creation of assessments, trainings, and program toolkits that bridge research to practice.
· Grow Camp Fire programs and increase the number of youth served by testing innovative approaches, scaling proven programs and best practices that keep SEL at the forefront of learning, and implementing family engagement strategies, such as the Search Institute’s Keep Connected Institute, a research-based framework for strengthening families, professional development for program leaders, curriculum, and supporting resources to market and implement an interactive workshop series that strengthens youth-parent relationships.
· Expand professional development opportunities for Camp Fire staff nationwide by providing hands-on training that focuses on diversity, equity, inclusion, and strengthening adult/youth relationships, which are core to managing successful youth programs.
Earlier this year, Rosie, a middle school student in Austin, Texas, attended a Camp Fire Central Texas overnight camp-out thanks to the partnership with New York Life Foundation. Camp Fire’s programs, including the camp-out, aim to instill a sense of “stick to it –ness” and confidence in being able to accomplish tasks and excel. During the camp-out, Rosie maintained the activity schedule, helped other students learn safety habits, and even comforted homesick campers. Recently, she was tasked with managing a service project at her school: establishing a wildlife habitat; a process that included presenting to the principal, creating a budget, designing a project plan, and implementing a timeline for completion. Rosie applied the skills she learned through Camp Fire programs — persistence, leadership, and confidence — in this real-world setting.
“This significant investment from the New York Life Foundation allows us to scale our impact with youth and families during such a crucial time in their development,” said Camp Fire National Headquarters President and CEO Greg Zweber. “It’s rare to secure more than one large-scale investment from a notable funder like the New York Life Foundation, let alone a third multi-year award. Their continued partnership and investment of $3.25 million to-date gives more young people every chance at success as they enter high school and prepare for their future.”
About Camp Fire
Camp Fire has been an inclusive, innovative leader in youth development since 1910. Its proven programs give kids the life skills they need now so they can succeed and thrive. Last year, Camp Fire’s 53 councils served more than 184,000 youth and families across 1,341 program sites, in 25 states and in D.C.3
All Camp Fire programs are based on cutting-edge research and founded on the pillars of Social Emotional Learning (SEL), delivered through Out-of-School-Time (OST) programs, environmental education and camp, and teen service and leadership development. Because youth shape the world, Camp Fire’s focus is on giving youth and teens the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are. Learn more at campfire.org
About the New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided nearly $280 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good and Grief-Sensitive Schools programs. To learn more, visit www.newyorklifefoundation.org
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Erin K Risner
Camp Fire National HQ