Camp Explore grows with the help of community, collaboration | SierraSun.com

Camp Explore grows with the help of community, collaboration

Amy Guinan
Special to the Bonanza

Steven, Brisa and Jose — members of Camp Explore 2014 — enjoy an outing at the Piping Rock Equestrian Center in Truckee.

INCLINE VILLAGE, Nev. — On a sunny afternoon, 70 local children put on lifejackets as they prepare to paddleboard in the cold, clear water of Lake Tahoe.

For the majority of these kids, paddleboarding is a first-time experience — as are other activities they will experience at Camp Explore, such as rock climbing, horseback riding and sleeping outdoors in a tent.

But this isn't the only list of firsts for Camp Explore. This year, for the first time in its history, the camp put on by Tahoe Family Solutions expanded to six weeks, spanning the entire summer.

"The expansion of Camp Explore to six weeks provides more kids with more opportunities to be outside, enjoying nature — not sitting in front of the TV or playing video games," said Camp Director Sharon Silva. "Three years ago, we were a two-week camp that served roughly 20 kids; this year camp runs for a full six weeks with 70 kids each session."

Camp Explore is firmly committed to being available to all kids regardless of income level or circumstance. Every child who applies is given an opportunity to attend.

In order to expand Camp to six weeks and cover camp expenses, creative collaboration and community support is necessary.

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This year, Camp Explore is collaborating with 15 other organizations, including SOS Outreach, the League to Save Lake Tahoe and the Sugarpine Foundation.

"Through our partnerships with local organizations we can provide the best summer programming at a fraction of the cost," Silva said. "Our partnership with SOS Outreach gave us the opportunity to include activities such as downhill mountain biking and kayaking. Piping Rock Equestrian Center allowed the campers to ride horses in exchange for changing water and brushing the horses. Our outstanding camp activities are possible because of our collaborations."

Camp Explore is becoming a large part of the TFS program package and requires local investment from our community to achieve positive outcomes.

"Camp Explore supporters recognize the importance of getting kids outside in the summer months. Our supporters know camp provides exercise and fun along with opportunities for leadership, teamwork, collaboration, and personal growth," said Robin Glasgow, TFS executive director. "Providing camp memories that last a lifetime is important to TFS. Parents and camp supporters alike know the amazing impact Camp Explore has on our local youth."

Camp Explore will continue to run through August 8. Currently, all sessions are filled to capacity, but there is a waiting list for interested campers.

Call Silva at 775-298-0004 for more information. Visit tahoefamily.org to learn more about Tahoe Family Solutions.