Substance use disorders affect more than just the user. Kids feel the effects too, and it can be a real struggle – especially if they don’t have the support and skills to cope.
That’s where CARE of Southeastern Michigan’s Camp CARE comes in. This summer camp, which has increased from a single week experience to two this year, started more than 20 years ago for kids in grades PK-12.
“The goal is to build resiliency skills,” says Tiffany Jameson, public information specialist at CARE. The camp offers evidence-based lessons on handling emotions, making healthy choices and having healthy relationships. It also brings in guests like police officers, chefs and karate instructors to help the kids build life skills; plus games to improve self-esteem, crafts to reinforce the lessons and even a little time to play outside.
Making friends is another huge piece of camp, especially for kids who feel alone in their struggles.
“I felt that (the situation) was my fault and I felt that I was the only person dealing with it,” says Rangel of Fraser, who lost her father to a substance use disorder. “(Camp) shows them there’s so many other people out there.”
The camp also runs a concurrent parent component to teach caretakers how to help kids cope.
“It’s a great place for children and families to come and get a break from the things that are going on around them in their families and their homes,” Jameson says.
This free program runs 10 a.m.-2:30 p.m. July 23-27 and July 30-Aug. 3 at Fountain Elementary School in Roseville. Register at careofsem.com/events/summer-camps.