Summer camp is only as fun as the people you share it with. But what if you had to share it with your brothers or sisters? Doesn't that sound like fun?
It would if you didn't live with them, lost track of them, or wondered when you'd see them the next time.
That's the situation hundreds of Southern Nevada foster children face. It all comes together for kids like this at "Camp To Belong."
Pathfinder Ranch is 72 acres of beautiful wilderness quietly tucked away in the San Bernardino National Forest in California.
During the Eyewitness News visit, it was home to Camp To Belong; a unique summer camp where foster children from Southern Nevada get to spend time with siblings not placed together in the same home.
To most of us that may not sound so special. But then again, most of us didn't grow up in foster care and can never imagine the emotional stress these children endure.
Lynn Price -- originally from Las Vegas -- knows how these kids feel. She was separated from her older sister, Andi, for most of their childhood. It's the reason she started this camp more than 10 years ago.
Lynn Price, founder of Camp To Belong, said, "We missed out on so many childhood memories, you know, all the social interactions, celebrating birthdays, telling each other secrets, sharing holidays and things like that."
Lynn and Andi reconnected when they were in college and are now best friends. Together their goal is to make sure other foster children know and understand just how important it is to stay connected to each other.
Andi Andree, Lynn's sister, said, "Each child will understand that they are not alone and that's why it's called Camp To Belong. They belong to a family."
All the events that are scheduled at the camp are meant to build relationships and respect. They are designed to encourage togetherness.
While these kids still enjoy the traditional summer camp activities like horseback riding and canoeing, through simple games they learn to trust and rely on another person again. It's an emotion these children tucked away a long time ago.
An evening making personal keepsake pillows for their siblings helps them express how they feel. Many admit it's easier for them to put their hopes and fears in writing than to say it out loud.
The message is then shared with each other during inspiration night, a time when they exchange pillows. It's an emotional reminder they can take home and hold onto every night when they are once again separated from each other.
These are experiences Lynn and Andi hope will change their outlook on life.
Andi Andree said, "You know your making a difference. These kids have so many things taken away from the but you can't ever take away memories and we are giving these kids memories."
Coming up Wednesday, July 26 on Eyewitness News at 4:30, Dave will introduce you to some of the foster kids who spent the week at Camp To Belong and talk with them about the impact this experience has on their lives.
Right now there are about 2,000 kids in foster care in Southern Nevada and only about 900 licensed foster homes.
If you're interested in opening up your home to a foster child, we encourage you to attend a foster family recruitment event Friday, July 28 and Saturday, July 29 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Palace Station.
Send feedback t oAnchor Dave Courvoisier at email@example.com
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