Our youth enrichment program allows Coast Guard families to send their kids to summer camps and enrichment programs so they can explore individual interests, create new experiences, and develop their social and emotional well-being. This is critical since they move frequently, separating them from family and friends.
The 2023 Youth Enrichment Program provided 588 Coast Guard families with grants for “Coastie Camper” activities over the summer. In total, the Coast Guard Foundation distributed $248,303 in grants. Through the generosity of our donors, grants were offered nation-wide for the first time.
Summer Camps: 87% of program participants attended typical summer camp programs, including soccer, tennis, swimming, dance, horseback riding, STEM fun, music lessons, YMCA outdoor recreation, and art, to name a few.
Aleah attended the YMCA of Greater Seattle’s Discovery Camp, where she explored water, sea creatures, and sand though crafts, games, science, and field trips. Her mom, an active duty Coast Guard member, stressed the importance of the program for her Coast Guard family, in particular because they transferred to Seattle at the end of the school year. “Moving is a hard time for a child. Aleah learned so much and made friends at camp. It helped her transition smoothly into her new life in a new location.”
9-year-old Raelyn and five-year-old Harper enrolled in summer gymnastics and tumbling programs. “We are a one-income family, and I don’t want them to miss out on a chance to learn new skills. Thank you for the opportunity,” said their father, an active duty member stationed in Alaska.
Ten-year-old Joel attended mountain bike camp on Bainbridge Island in Washington. “This program was the definition of enrichment. They received top-notch cycling instruction from seasoned professionals in a safe environment while being immersed in the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. The summer camp grant program is a fantastic initiative that will give all applicants the opportunity to invest in their children's youth experience," shared Joel's father, a Coast Guard ensign.
Technology Investments: A portion of youth enrichment grants supported technology needs. First introduced in the summer of 2020 because of the pandemic, we continue to offer this option to families to aid in at-home learning and enrichment .
Ivy and Violet benefitted from a technology grant this summer. Their family moved across the country to a new duty station and could not sign-up for summer camps in their new community. The grant for a tablet allowed the school-aged children to access education-based apps and boost their Spanish language skills in preparation for their dual language immersion school. “The grant allowed us the opportunity to continue our kids’ education and keep in contact with far away family members,” shared their dad, an active-duty Coast Guard member.
Oliver enrolled in a coding class in San Ramon, California, and needed a personal laptop to complete the course. “Coding camp teaches kids computer coding and design with various games and computer programs. We needed to pay for the camp and a computer. We thank you for the financial assistance to make this camp possible,” shared Oliver's parents.
Program Impacts: The Coast Guard Foundation values participant feedback and each year we survey families to assess impact and learn how our support helps. All those surveyed said they would apply for a future grant in the future if the opportunity was provided.
Program Growth Plans: Continued investment in Coast Guard children through youth enrichment grants is part of our plan to triple support to the Coast Guard. Through strategic growth, we will administer 1,200 annual grants and invest $600,000 each year in this important program area by the end of 2027.