Local Camp Gives Kids In Need A Much-Needed Break From The Inner City

MALIBU (CBSLA.com) —  It’s just like any summer camp — this one is just happening in winter.

It’s Camp Harmony in Malibu.

It’s got cabins in the woods, cooking classes, all kinds of sports.

CBS2’s Joy Benedict reports it’s also got a lot of great volunteer counselors and 300 underprivileged kids looking for a break from the tough inner city.

“I think its very amazing. It’s harmony here,” said camper Frida Siqueiros.

For the kids it’s something new, something different and a chance just to be a kid.

First-time camper Rebecca Parra said her family would miss her.

But she told Benedict, “They want me to have fun.”

It wasn’t just Parra’s first time at Camp Harmony — it’s her first camp ever.

All of the children are invited.

Adam Slutske, says “We go for homeless and underprivileged children from agencies and shelters and schools in the inner city — all over LA county.”

Camp Harmony is an all-volunteer effort — it runs on donations and grants.

They have two sessions a year. Both are seen as a special gift for parent and child alike.

Camper Alizey DeJesus, “They really are happy that they have a chance, their kids have a chance, to come here,” she says of her family.

Benedict says the camp also has a very large closet filled with new clothes — pants, underwear, shirts all donated by Auntie Barbara’s Kids in Beverly Hills  — anything the kids might need throughout the weekend. Since many are from underprivileged  backgrounds, they often need more than just a place to sleep.

“A lot of our kids move from shelter to shelter, agency to agency and oftentimes they  don’t even have the opportunity to bring what they do have with them because they had to leave, or they don’t have physical possessions,” Slutske explains.

When camp is over in summer, all the kids get to go home with a duffel bag filled with the clothes.

Slutske says, “We find a lot of our kids, when they leave here, feel that much better about themselves, because they leave with some stuff,” said Slutske.

The camp, no surprise, is also a joyous experience for the high school students who volunteer to be counselors.

Benedict reported there is a waiting list just to volunteer.

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