Lions Camp Jack is the dream of its founder, Jack Wyatt, a member of the San Diego Downtown Lions Club since 1969.
Jack's dream was to provide a summer outdoor experience for San Diego's at-risk youth. The goal is to provide a safe and fun-filled one-week vacation away from their regular surroundings, to build and perpetuate a friendly relationship with law enforcement personnel and to reinforce moral and ethical values and community responsibility.
The dream became a reality in 1996 and has been growing stronger each year, with plans for year-round activities. Campers enjoy such activities as Archery, Arts and Crafts, Aquatics, Creative Arts, Hiking and Exploring.
Who are the Campers?
They are San Diego-area youth referred by law enforcement and youth-serving agencies who come from areas where incomes are lowest and crime is highest - kids often at high risk for troubled lives. Those chosen for this free week of fun, learning and relaxation return home with a better outlook and a knowledge that people in the community, especially law enforcement officers, really care about them. The age level is 9 to 13 years - young enough to be able to make better decisions about their lives.
How are the Campers chosen ?
The two major criteria are age and whether the young person falls into the somewhat undefined category of at risk.
Police, probation and foster family groups countywide are asked to make referrals along with community organizations. Campers are chosen if they live in high-crime areas; are eligible for the school free-lunch program; had contact with law enforcement; and/or if family members are incarcerated. Kids with inappropriate criminal backgrounds are not accepted.
If you know a child who qualifies you can call Kathleen Baldwin at (619) 295-8393, Ext 13 for more information about referring this child for camp.
How much does it cost?
Each camper costs the sponsors $400 for the week but is free to the campers and their families.
The camp is run from funds provided by community donors who believe that every kid can benefit from a week of clean air, an environment safely away from gangs and drug violence, and a place they can make new friends.
Send a kid to Camp
Please click here to print out the Send A Kid to Camp donation form.
Is it working?
We have found (and long-term national data shows) that after one week of camp, 96% of campers improved performance in the following areas: communication with others, accepting responsibilities, self-reliance, self-esteem, participation in recreation, skill achievement, and self-help skills.
We have had calls from parents saying, Thanks, you gave me back my child. Miracles do not happen in a week, but year after year, past campers have asked to return. It's now common for past campers to participate as Counselors in Training. Yes, it works!
How can you help?
Providing a free camping experience for over 300 needy kids a year is a costly venture. Lions Camp Jack receives major donations from the San Diego Lions Club, the Lions Clubs of San Diego County, the Boys & Girls Foundation and other generous sponsors. But we must also rely on assistance of community donors.
If you or your organization can sponsor one or more of these deserving youngsters this year, please fill out the Send a Kid to Camp form and send your gift to the address at the bottom. Your donation is fully tax deductible to a 501(c)(3) Charity EIN 33-0939506. This is community involvement in its best form.