FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What are Camp To Belong Washington summer camps?
Camp To Belong Washington (CTB WA) summer camps are week-long camp experiences for brothers and sisters separated from each other by placement in foster care, relative care or adoption through foster care. Since 2009, some 1,150 siblings have been reunited at camp. During the 2020 Covid pandemic, summer camp took place via Zoom.
Why is Camp To Belong necessary?
The motto of all Camp To Belong camps is “Giving Siblings Their Right To Reunite.” Across our country, thousands of brothers and sisters are separated because they have been removed from their biological homes and we have too few foster, relative or adoptive homes to accommodate sibling groups. The sibling connection is so strong and so important to each child’s well-being and recovery from trauma that camp exists to help fill the void when siblings cannot live together.
Is Camp To Belong Washington the only one of its kind?
Camp To Belong Washington is part of Camp To Belong International, which has 13 member camps across the United States. Australia also has three camps.
The international effort began in 1995, when a former youth in care, Lynn Price, had the vision to reunite siblings. Until she was eight years old, Lynn didn’t know she had a sister. Now, through what she calls “the power of the ripple,” – like the rings created by throwing a pebble in the water – the Camp To Belong family has expanded, connecting thousands of siblings with each other.
Who is eligible to attend Camp To Belong Washington’s summer camps?
Any sibling group as described above, with brothers and sisters between the ages of 8 and 18 are eligible to apply as long as at least one of the campers lives in Washington state. We have had campers from several other states who attend with their Washington siblings, but travel expenses are provided at the caregivers’ expense.
Our average sibling group is three, and the largest sibling group has been six. The size of the group is not limited.
Can my child attend camp if he/she is on medications, has a special diet, physical limitations or behavior issues?
Yes. CTB WA operates with a staff of nurses, who distributes all medications. Dietary needs are noted on camper applications and will be handled by the camp kitchen. Children with disabilities are considered on a case-by-case basis.
How does the application process work?
Applications will be available through the “Camper” link on the Sibling Strong website’s home page. The closing date for 2021 camp is April 20. Applications for children in foster care should be completed by the child’s case worker. Relative caregivers and adoptive families complete their child’s application. A separate application is necessary for each child. Once submitted, the application will be reviewed by a committee. Highest priority is given to applicants who have the least amount of quality contact with their brothers or sisters during the year.
All applicants will hear back directly from the assistant director about their camper status during the first week of May.
How much does camp cost?
Camps are free. Sibling Strong fundraises year-round to make sure that camp happens. Grants, business, corporate and private donations, and partial scholarships paid through the Washington States Department of Children, Youth and Families underpin funding for camp. The only financial obligation for social workers or caregivers is to provide transportation for campers to and from Miracle Ranch in Port Orchard, if they live in Western Washington. Please consider helping us by donating or by hosting or supporting a fundraiser.
Is transportation available to Camp To Belong?
For campers who live in Eastern Washington, transportation to Miracle Ranch is provided; campers living in Western Washington must supply their own transportation. However, out-of-state campers need to fund and arrange their own transportation. Note that transportation for out-of-state youth are sometimes covered by the child's state.
Does CTB WA have volunteer opportunities?
Yes. Our volunteers are the backbone of Camp To Belong Washington. We welcome and are grateful for the many who help make CTB WA’s work in sibling reunification so successful. Two types of volunteers are needed:
-Fulltime volunteers, who live at camp round-the-clock and serve as camp counselors,
-Day/event volunteers, who are needed for single days or activities during camp. Volunteers also are needed in various support roles.
Learn more on our website’s Volunteer page.
Who operates Camp To Belong Washington?
CTB WA is led by its director, Deb Kennedy, who is one of the camp’s co-founders, and an active leadership team. It is overseen by a Board of Directors. Camp To Belong Washington is a major activity of Sibling Strong, a private, non-profit organization whose purpose is to reunite siblings separated by foster or relative care and adoption, and to promote awareness of the need for Sibling Preservation Foster Homes. Camp To Belong Washington partners with Washington’s Department of Children, Youth, and Families.
Have more questions?
Please go to our website's "Contact Us" page or use the email or phone number at the bottom of this page.