The Issue: Widespread Effect of HIV/AIDS on Youth
In 2009, an estimated 8,294 young people were diagnosed with HIV in the 40 states with long-term HIV reporting, according to data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Young people aged 13–29 accounted for 39% of all new infections in 2009, whereas people aged 15–29 accounted for only 21% of the total US population in 2010.
The Campaign: Sending Youth Affected by HIV to Camp
If this Grassroots campaign raises $480, then Camp Dreamcatcher can sponsor participation in its weeklong camp for two youth affected by HIV/AIDS. Patty Hillkirk, the camp's founder, will match all donations up to a $480 total. Each additional $480 raised will sponsor another youth's participation in the camp. Approximately 130 campers attend the session every year, and this year’s camp takes place August 12–18.
During the week, youth aged 5–17 can take part in hundreds of available therapeutic, educational, and recreational programs including art therapy, bully prevention, swimming, and hiking. The programs help youth safely express their feelings about HIV/AIDS in a judgment-free environment. More than 330 counselors, medical personnel, and community members volunteer to work at the camp.
All donations will be matched up to a $480 total by Patty Hillkirk. You can follow the progress of this and other Grassroots campaigns at the Groupon Grassroots website.
In 1995, Patty Hillkirk was working as a psychotherapist and dreaming of starting a camp for youth infected or affected by HIV/AIDS that would provide a safe environment for them to express themselves. Camp Dreamcatcher realizes this goal with a weeklong camp session in August where children aged 5–17 can interact with their peers. Campers and counselors may be coping with their own infection or the infection or death of a family member.
During the camp, youth can take part in 80 therapeutic programs, including music and psychotherapy; 35 educational sessions on pertinent topics such as depression and college preparation; and 150 recreational activities, including swimming, a ropes course, and the annual dance and talent show. Throughout the year, Camp Dreamcatcher also runs life-skills and leadership retreats for teenagers, training for counselors, community outreach, and family advocacy, as well as an Adopt-A-Family program during the holidays.