At nearly 7,000 feet, the historic mountain town of Williams, Arizona is an enticing destination during the hot summer months. For high school graduates and college students, it may also be the best job location they will ever have.
Located near Williams is a summer camp for children and adults with special needs. Founded in 1968, Camp Civitan was one of the first stay-over camps for people with all abilities in the country. Today, the camp is recognized nationally for its services and programs for the disabled. The summer camp offers 10-weeklong sessions where campers experience a variety of enriching and fun experiences that promote positive self-esteem, teamwork, socialization and healthy activities.
Each weeklong camp session, starting May 30 through August 5, offers special needs campers, some as young as 8 and as old as 65, the opportunity to make new friends, sing, dance, create art projects, do theatrical skits, fish and visit area attractions. Many of the trips include the Grand Canyon, Bearizona, area lakes and other destinations. Campers and staff, as well, gain many new life skills which include self-confidence and independence.
On average, summer staff return to Camp Civitan for four summers, and many work weekends during one of the 12-weekend camp sessions throughout the year. Staff not only return to camp each year for the fun and relationships with other staff and returning campers, but camp staff positions are also paid, on average, for the entire 10-week summer sessions over $5,000, including all meals and lodging.
“I was a staffer for three years while in college,” said Michael “Skippy” Hough, director of Camp Civitan. “After college I was a teacher and worked briefly for the state. Working at camp made such an impact on my life that I knew I wanted to work with this population as a career.”
“I’ve been involved with Camp Civitan for over 30-years,” said Civitan Foundation CEO Dawn Trapp. “Nearly every one of the camp staff over the years has either stayed in touch, changed their careers to work with people with disabilities or now volunteers with a social agency. Camp Civitan is a lifetime of memories and a life changer.”
Camp Civitan encourages teens, ages 13-17, to volunteer. Not only will the experience offer community service hours and resume reference, but teens will share their talents and skills, learn activity planning, develop leadership skills and make life-long memories and friends, as well.
Volunteers spend a full week at camp, which includes food and dorm accommodations.
Assignments include kitchen duty, organizing sporting activities and assisting camp staff with members.
“I will never forget my time at Camp Civitan, it has affected my life forever. I view disabilities in a whole new light, my fears are gone and the friendships I’ve built will last a lifetime, I will be back,” said John, a 15-year-old camp volunteer.
To learn more and to apply for Camp Civitan staff positions and volunteer opportunities, go to www.civitanfoundationaz.org/camp-civitan or call 602-953-2944.
Camp staff must be a high school graduate or GED, at least 18-years-of age. Volunteers must be 13 to 17 years of age.