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Camp Felix's Leaders: Counselors-In-Training

Since the summer of 2006, Camp Felix has been a special place where children in foster care can feel safe, experience new things and discover their passions with the support of their counselors and new friends.

Camp Felix was built on a simple motive: to support the 12,000 children in foster care in New York City. They ended up in foster care through no fault of their own, yet they are burdened with higher rates of mental and physical illnesses and more learning disabilities. As adults, they are unable to complete high school, they must frequently depend on welfare and social services, and often end up in jail. The statistics are clear - we are not doing enough as a society to help foster children succeed.

Studies have shown that for youth who age out of the foster care system with no permanent family, approximately 50% did not complete high school and 40% are unemployed. The Felix Organization provides these vulnerable youth with unique opportunities to succeed and transcend the statistics.

As such, our Counselor-In-Training (CIT) program is one of the most vital components of Camp Felix. Many of our campers have been attending Camp Felix since they were 8 years old and continue to return year after year until they are 13 years old. At ages 14 and 15, our campers are eligible for the CIT program. This program provides a path toward employment for campers who want to continue to be a part of Camp Felix but are aging out.

Campers who become CITs are trained to become counselors, allowing them to build job experience, expand their leadership skills, and learn on-the-job competencies that help them begin their professional careers. Our campers look forward to becoming staff members because of the inspiring impact our program has on their lives.

This year, we had the opportunity to host a special kayaking trip on the Hudson River for our CITs, where they learned to work together to stay safe on this new and exciting adventure. 13 youth participated in the activity and had the experience of a lifetime!

To date:

  • 45 campers have become CITs

  • 9 campers have become volunteers on a path to becoming paid staff

  • 8 former campers have moved into the role of Camp Felix employees.

  • Even more campers will take on these roles in Summer 2018.

Our staff includes certified social workers, medical professionals, and dedicated staff who are highly trained to meet our campers’ needs. Campers who become CITs and eventually paid staff, offer a specialized perspective of Camp Felix that creates a warmer, kinder, and more compassionate environment for our campers. We are proud to offer this program to our campers and hope to continue doing so for many years to come.

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