Over 100 foster care siblings participated in the fifth annual Camp To Belong Orange County, sponsored by the Eddie Nash Foundation. Camp To Belong Orange County was held July 29th thru August 3rd 2013 at the Irvine Ranch Outdoor Education Center. It was a resounding success as the siblings, separated in foster care placement, were reunited for a week of togetherness. The highlight for many was the Birthday Party, when they gave each other presents and decorated a shared cake. The symbolic celebrating of missed birthdays is one of the many activities the Camp does to support the sibling bond and create lifelong memories. In addition, the campers make pillows and quilts for each other and a scrapbook of the week’s adventures together.

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This year we welcomed a new Camp Director, Tricia Tiner. Tricia was already an active member of the team prior to taking the lead and had participated in prior camps in Orange County as well as other locations. She and her core team did a wonderful job making the Camp a success and we look forward to her continued involvement in 2014.

There was excitement during the first days of Camp as we had NBC Nightly News onsite filming a “Making a Difference” segment about Camp To Belong. Click here to view it!

The Eddie Nash Foundation was especially grateful for all of the community support this year. Just to name a few: FunServices provided a fantastic carnival for the campers to enjoy. The OCSPCA Canine Literacy Program created a unique experience for the younger campers by having them sit and read with therapy dogs. CSU Fullerton hosted the foster youth (ages 13-18) for a tour and discussion about college.

The Laguna Chapter of National Charity League, a mother/daughter service organization, sponsored Inspiration Night as well as provided the volunteer support for the week. Inspiration Night also included a dynamic and inspiring talk by Sharaud D. Moore of the Freedom Writers Foundation. As the campers were leaving, one young boy summed up the experience by saying that the best thing about Camp is “being with my brother”.