PANAMA CITY BEACH Fla. (WMBB) — Camp Hero’s bunks in Bay County are officially open!
Children ages seven to 12 will enjoy all kinds of activities this week, but this camp is unique from others.
“Program for kids who are in the foster care system or have been in the foster care system,” said Every Child Home CEO Clay Owens. “Most of our kids are in a foster care system of some sort.”
Some have reunited with their families or are in adopted homes. Regardless, the 35 campers all have that in common. While they enjoy this week full of activities, there are also guest speakers and licensed therapists on site.
“These kids have dealt with trauma at some point in their lives so we are ready to respond if needed. But hopefully, they are just going to have a lot of fun,” said Owens. “A lot of the speakers as well are people who have been either in the foster care system when they were kids. One is even a teenager who is just a little older than these kids, but has a similar experience.”
Owens started Camp Hero in March. With nearly 100,000 kids in foster care, Owens and his non-profit saw how this camp could change young lives.
“A lot of these kids have rules at home,” said Camp Counselor Lisa Rose. “They have stresses they have things that they deal with on a daily basis. We just want them to relax this week, have fun and the kids feel loved and know that they are loved, valued, and important.”
Rose came from Texas to volunteer, and she is one of a dozen volunteers making Camp Hero possible.
“We want to expand it so that we can do something with older kids, and continue Camp Hero in the future as well.”