Why We Aren’t Surprised by Camps’ Response to Hurricane Harvey

Following the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall in Texas on August 25th, camp directors came to the rescue—helping families who needed a safe place for their kids.

Schools in certain areas were forced to close or delay openings. About 80% of Houston ISD opened for the first day of school on September 11.1 But until then, as families struggled to assess damages and start rebuilding, many children were left in limbo.

Camp Directors Offer What They Have

Camp directors responded by opening their doors in creative ways, offering childcare, fun activities, and safe places for kids to process traumatic events.

No surprise here. Camp directors are some of the most big-hearted people we know, and you’re also some of the most resourceful.

URJ Green Family Camp (GFC)

When GFC reached out to Houston-area families to help with hurricane relief, they learned that childcare was a pressing need. Located in Bruceville, TX, GFC directors loaded up supplies in a 15-foot truck and moved camp operations to a synagogue in Southwest Houston to offer an impromptu, free day camp—for 8 days.2

From Aug. 31-Sept. 7, GFC administrators and local volunteers offered more than 200 kids a full slate of games, songs, crafts, and lunches from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. They also provided breakfast and dinner (including kosher meals) for entire families, as well as counseling services and a “free store” of supplies.

Wow. We stand amazed.

But camps and youth experts not only know how to feed kids and keep them happily occupied, you also know how to meet their emotional needs.

5 Resources Camps Have That Enable Impromptu Community Aid

Main Street Theatre

This theater camp in Houston stepped up in the wake of Harvey to provide camp for up to 500 kids at a time. At the aptly named “Hurricane Camp,” kids could express their worries and feelings using drama and the performing arts.

Director of Education Jonathan Gonzales explained that theater was therapeutic for these kids. He said children “see the world three times their size and they’re still strong and they still go forward and they still have a sense of play.”3

Numerous other organizations rallied “camp-like” events to relieve devastated families.4 These stories only have highlighted what we’ve known for years—you make an immeasurable impact on the lives of kids. Thank you!



1NY Times: After the Storm, It’s Finally the First Day of School in Houston

2JHV Online: Camp-in-a-Box Offers Childcare to Families Impacted by Hurricane Harvey

3ABC: Hurricane Camp Opens for Kids Still Out of School

4Big Kids Small City: Kids Camps in Houston to Bridge the Hurricane Harvey Gap

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About Gina Calvert

Gina Calvert is the Senior Marketing Writer for ACTIVE Network, providing marketing and business resources for active lifestyle organizations across a range of markets, including government, nonprofits, camps, schools and endurance events, for more than six years.