At the onset of 2020, we began planning for the launch of our summer youth program for Coast Guard families living in the San Diego area. The program was designed to help Coast Guard families send their children to summer camps and enrichment programs through $500 grants for tuition and supplies.
Then, the pandemic hit. Schools closed for in-person learning, and summer plans were uncertain. We saw this change as an opportunity to pivot our grant program to address families’ new, emerging needs. The program was re-drawn to offer local Coast Guard families an opportunity to participate in summer camps and programs, and because of COVID-19 restrictions, invest in technology and online programming that best suited each families’ needs.
About half of the forty-five kids who participated in our grant program attended in-person summer camps. Many families invested in chromebooks and tablets, and purchased digital subscriptions for enrichment activities that provided learning opportunities and summer fun.
We are incredibly grateful for the generosity of the Sahm Family Foundation. Their investment in our summer youth program, and flexible approach to our partnership, provided Coast Guard families throughout the San Diego area an opportunity to engage in enriching activities and necessary technology, all to benefit their children’s total wellbeing.
“This pandemic has really taken a toll on our son’s emotional well-being," shared a Coast Guard member whose child benefitted from a Coastie Camper grant. “As a kindergartner it was hard for him to make sense of not being able to return to school and see his friends. Having an opportunity to go to camp and socialize helped him both at camp and feeling happy when home. We just want to see our little boy happy.”
One Coastie Camper enrolled in summer craft camp, where activities included woodworking, ceramics, and paper crafts.
“This gave our son time out of the house with a teacher and other kids in his peer group, trying new activities, learning new things and creating with his hands - something he hasn't really done in months," shared the grateful parent.