June 28, 2023


Funding Helps Remove Financial Barriers, Sending 100 More Kids to Camp, Summer 2023

Bend, Ore. –  For many families throughout Central Oregon, the cost for summer camp programs can be tough if not impossible to manage. But thanks to a new grant given by PacificSource Community Solutions to Camp Fire Central Oregon, that barrier has now been lessened. The funds, which total $75,000, are supporting an additional 120 spots at Camp Fire’s SummerKids program. Over 100 unique youth will benefit from the financial assistance, with discounts ranging from 15% to 100% of the program participation fees. 

“Even for the most affordable, high-value summer camps available, the price tag can be a hardship for many families to bear,” says Kecia Kubota, Camp Fire Central Oregon’s executive director. “In particular, when economic times are tight, families have to make choices, and a summer camp may be what gets crossed off the list. This is what we hope won’t happen now, considering we’ve been given this amazing grant to support our camp scholarship fund, which helps cover some if not all the registration costs. It’s a really big deal to have this gift from PacificSource Community Solutions, and we are beyond excited to share it with those it will benefit most.”

SummerKids is a nine-week camp program hosted at Bear Creek Elementary in Bend. Each week features a creative theme and is chock full of games, activities, crafts, special guests, science investigations, Water Wednesdays, field trips for older kids, and—of course—camp songs. It’s offered to youth heading into kindergarten through sixth grade with morning and afternoon extended care beyond the program hours of 9 a.m.-3:30 p.m. The small-group approach of eight to 12 campers per counselor means kids can make new friends, connect with caring adults, and discover their sparks in a low pressure, supportive, and fun environment. Kindergartners have a lower camper: counselor ratio, which provides an opportunity to experience group learning and fun prior to the start of school in the fall. Transportation to SummerKids may also be available on a case-by-case basis.

For more information about the camp’s financial assistance, visit:

For details about SummerKids, visit: or go to and click on the “Summer Programs” link.

Photo caption: Youth at Camp Fire Central Oregon benefit from its mission, connecting them to the outdoors, to each other, and to themselves. 


Kecia Kubota, Executive Director | Camp Fire Central Oregon (541) 205-9146

Katie Roberts, Marketing & Outreach Coordinator | Camp Fire Central Oregon (541) 299-2812

About Camp Fire Central Oregon
Founded in 1910, Camp Fire is a national organization that actively engages youth and teens in building essential skills for life. Camp Fire Central Oregon has been a local leader in youth development since 1916. The organization provides co-ed out-of-school time, teen service and leadership, camp and environmental programs. Young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to help them find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are.


When it came to physical health, we renovated bathrooms, paved walkways, and made other camp updates. When it came to child safety and abuse prevention, we continued to refine our national and local policies and procedures, working closely with youth protection experts at Praesidium, the national leader in abuse risk management. This continues to be a huge priority so we can meet the highest standards or have a clear path to get there.

And when it came to mental and emotional health, the toll and isolation of COVID-19 was immense; the U.S. Surgeon General just declared children’s mental health a national crisis, releasing a Youth Mental Health Advisory. To make sure we were ready for young people, we formed a new partnership with On Our Sleeves to offer mental health resources to our network. We also continued to expand education around the power of developmental relationships from The Search Institute. We focused program efforts around creating a safe space, the foundation for youth engagement and interaction, and measured for quality using Weikart Center’s Program Quality Assessment tool.

As we worked through our strategic plan that kicked off in early 2021, we also focused on equity. We addressed equity in both our professional development and in our programming, and we also worked on connecting social-emotional learning (SEL) to equity and explaining to our network why it matters for young people.

Lastly, we know that when a young person gets outside, magic happens. No matter how young people experience the outdoors — as something awesome and powerful to behold or something that catalyzes relationships with self or others, it is a place that everyone can access. It is a tool for positive youth development, and you can find the results and impact in these pages.

We all need connection. Despite COVID-19 and its barriers, Camp Fire was able to connect 68,546 youth and their families to the outdoors, to others, and to themselves, over the past year. We hope you enjoy this report and see the life-giving connections that make this work so important.




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