SHAVER LAKE, California (KGPE) – Camp Fresno near Shaver Lake was closed since 2019 – but has since reopened for campers this week.
“Camp Fresno has been closed for all of COVID-19. Our kids have been cooped up in the house and Mayor Dyer wanted to create an experience for the kids,” said Clinay Wills, a coordinator with the Civic Education Center.
The campers are ages 14 through 17 with diverse backgrounds who have experienced personal struggles in the past year.
“We really want kids out here that have kind of not had the opportunity to go anywhere, maybe they’ve been online this entire time. We really want to reach those kids that have not had the opportunity to live outside of Fresno and live outside of the walls of their homes right now.”
Downtown Fresno’s Civic Education Center program and its employees serve as camp counselors to give kids an experience of a lifetime – free of charge.
“We wanted them to see the outdoors. With the Civic Education Center, our mission is to teach civil dialogues, civil education through civic service projects. So those are hands-on experiences. These kids are experiencing what it’s like in a whole different environment.”
Aiming to foster youth to prepare them for future leadership roles.
“They don’t know that they do have a voice. We just have to teach them how to use it because they are our future leaders and they are our future and if we don’t instill these things in them and we don’t give them the opportunity to experience new things then we’re hindering them from being the best versions of themselves.”
This is the first of three camps the Civic Education Center is spearheading through the end of the month. Fresno Mayor Jerry Dyer hopes 2,000 kids will be able to share the camp experience throughout the summer.