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Free camp for children of fire evacuees

Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 9:12 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - A nonprofit organization called Project:Camp is helping families traumatized by the Dixie and Caldore fires.

Parents dealing with the stress of evacuating or even losing their homes can drop their kids off between the ages of six and 16 free-of-charge to Project:Camp at the Discovery Museum Friday, September 3 or Monday, September 6 through Friday, September 10 from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

”This is an amazing opportunity for us to have that time to be able to process what’s going on and to figure out plans and to check-in on neighbors, while she’s having just a fun day to be a kid,” said South Lake Tahoe Evacuee, Jamie Quijas.

Her daughter Mila Quijas spent the day at this special camp.

”It was awesome. I got to climb on clouds. I got to do a lot of projects. I got to build stuff,” Mila said.

Organizers who designed Project:Camp say their goal is to give parents time to deal with the trauma caused by a natural disaster by taking care of their kids in a safe environment.

Mikey Latner is the Executive Director of the Project:Camp in Reno.

”Project:Camp looks, smells, feels like day camp. We have a couple different activities that we spring-up like relay races. We also provide open unstructured time. We had story time at the Library across the street,” he said.

The camp strives to keep a ratio of one adult volunteer for every 12 participants.

The volunteers are qualified to help kids cope with and process extreme events.

Project:Camp was created in 2017 to help families impacted by Hurricane Harvey in Houston.

It’s a nonprofit supported by several donors, but primarily a group called Jumpstart Labs.

It has also set up camps in Santa Rosa, California after the Tubbs Fire and Thousand Oaks, California in response to the Woolsey Fire.

The goal now is to set up camps within 48 hours after a disaster like the Caldor Fire south of Lake Tahoe.

You can also volunteer to work at one of the camps or donate money to help fund future camps.

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