What happens during the summer at Wayfinder Family Services?
Our core programs assist clients year round, but each summer we offer immersive summer programs for children, youth and young adults with vision impairment. Camp Bloomfield returned to being an overnight camp this summer after being a virtual camp and day camp due to the pandemic. At camp, children and teens who had experienced so much isolation during the pandemic made friends, gained independence and learned new sports. Teens and young adults attended Workforce Readiness and Academic Preparation, a part of our Transition Services. In this six-week residential experience on the Cal State L.A. campus, young people with vision loss learned pre-employment skills and built a supportive community. Also, our Special Education School provided a monthlong enrichment program to students with moderate to severe disabilities. This summer was busy for our Foster Care and Adoption programs, too. The months were filled with innovative training for adoptive parents, backpack giveaways for foster youth, family picnics and pizza nights. After the prior two summers, I don’t think we will ever take for granted the magic of being together in these programs.
Can you share a favorite Wayfinder Moment from this summer?
I have two favorites. Recruiting and hiring staff has been difficult for all kinds of organizations this year. Camp Bloomfield could not find qualified lifeguards for our camp program. So the manager of our camp and recreation program and three of his staff completed 27 hours of training over three days to become certified lifeguards. That’s such a great example of one of Wayfinder’s core values: “Whatever it takes. We never give up.”
My other favorite was Camp Bloomfield’s celebration of the Fourth of July from morning to evening during the family camp session! Children and family members started the day with a color guard ceremony. The afternoon was filled with picnicking, playing carnival games, watermelon eating, karaoke and arts & crafts with a July 4th theme. The most memorable moment was when the families faced off in an all-out water balloon battle. You could feel pure joy well up in these parents and children who have been dealing with the stress of the pandemic on top of children’s disabilities. It was a typical summer moment, but it reminds us why camp is so important. For a week, families unplugged their devices, explored nature and simply enjoyed being together.
Wayfinder Family Services ensures that children, youth and adults facing challenges always have a place to turn. This mission is guided by our values:
We stand up in support of equity and social justice, and we stand against injustice and racism. We strive to build an equitable world for our clients and staff.
We seek to develop a deeper understanding of our children and families. We work to embed empathy into our decision-making, interactions and actions.
We can’t do it alone and we must do it together. We work in partnership to address the holistic needs of children and families.
Whatever it takes
We never give up. We will always be there for our children and their families.
We are agile and forward-thinking. We continually seek out better ways to help children and families thrive.
We take every opportunity to move forward in our strategic direction and to create meaningful change.
We provide families with a supportive community and resources so they can thrive. We want every child to grow up in a loving family.
Please consider a gift to Wayfinder today. We need your support, now more than ever.
September 30, 2022