The Felix Organization Announces Camp Felix Pride at The Fresh Air Fund
First-Of-Its-Kind Camp for LGBTQ+ Youth in Foster Care Launches this Summer.
By: The Felix Organization
NEW YORK - Feb. 13, 2020 - PRLog -- The Felix Organization announces the August 2020 launch of a ground-breaking summer camp for LGBTQ+ youth in the foster care system, set to take place at The Fresh Air Fund's Sharpe Reservation in New York's Mid-Hudson Valley. According to The Felix Organization Executive Director, Amanda Ricken Simonetta: "Camp Felix Pride will fill a vital need in the foster care community. There is a disproportionate amount of LGBTQ+ youth in foster care, who experience heightened levels of isolation and bullying, with very few resources to support them. A camp specific for LGBTQ+ youth in foster care has the potential to not only be a game changer but a life changer. And it is our hope that Camp Felix Pride will become a national model.
The Felix Organization was co-founded in 2006 by two adoptees, Emmy-winning Casting Director Sheila Jaffe and Hip-Hop legend, Darryl "DMC" McDaniels whose paths crossed randomly as they were searching for their birth parents. They instantly bonded, soon after formed The Felix Organization and that summer the first Camp Felix welcomed 60 youth in the foster care system.
Fourteen years later, Camp Felix has been thriving. Thousands of youth from ages eight to eighteen have attended one of five Camp Felix locations, some not only regularly but returning as counselors in training and then counselors.
According to Jaffe: "The idea for Camp Felix Pride was seeded by the generous donation of one of our biggest supporters, Equinox. It gave us the financial courage to go forward to create a camp that has never been attempted. When The Fresh Air Fund aligned with us to provide the beautiful facilities we knew we could and would do this."
McDaniels adds: "We are all adopted, all one people. Camp Felix is THE place to be and we want to inspire and reach as many kids in need as possible. To enrich their lives is our mission and, in the process, it certainly has enriched ours."
The Camp will launch in August with programs based on the principle of R.E.S.P.E.C.T. that Simonetta created when she was Camp Felix's first director. The components are: RESPECT for self and others, ENGAGE in positive decision-making, SUPPORT each other at Camp, PEACEFUL conflict resolution, EXPERIENCE something new, CARE for the environment, and TOLERANCE for others despite differences.
Besides the five Camp Felix locations in Putnam Valley, New York, Kent, Connecticut and Big Bear, California, The Felix Organization sponsors a Beyond Camp initiative that supports youth in foster care all year round. The programs include individual scholarships, tickets to Broadway Shows and sports events, etc.
The Fresh Air Fund's Sharpe Reservation is located in Fishkill, NY. The facility has over 2,000 acres of breath-taking land with lakes, ponds, streams, a model farm, nutrition center, planetarium, environmental center, hiking trails through the woods and more.
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Traci Coulter / TCOPR Inc.