“As a wilderness camp for homeless children, Scottie’s Place is ideal for promoting the self-exploration, awareness and healing that many homeless children desperately need.”
Andrew McLurkin, Clinical Social Worker
Adventure Programs for Homeless Children
Scottie’s Place is a one-of-a-kind camp for children whose lives have been disrupted by homelessness. It is a refuge from life in a shelter, a place where children climb mountains, breathe fresh air, watch for deer and falling stars. It is an old-fashioned kind of place, a warm and nurturing homestead nestled in the mountains. Scottie’s Place teaches survival skills – how to thrive in the wilderness, how to survive in society. Scottie’s Place touches the imaginations of children and inspires hopes and dreams for a future they can control. It is a camp for wounded children to experience wilderness adventure and inner healing.
Homelessness brings ruin to over one million children each year in this country. These children are stripped of their possessions and their homes and isolated from their friends, family and community. Their lives are chaotic, their growth is disrupted, they eat poorly and know hunger. Education becomes a luxury, leaving few opportunities for a successful passage into adulthood. Feelings of loss, shame and fear color the world of homeless children. They find themselves disconnected from society. Programs directed at homeless families focus primarily on the parents; only the most basic needs of children are met. In their daily fight for survival, homeless children lose their childhood.
Scottie’s Place empowers, educates and enlivens homeless children. Life on the streets, even in shelters, is dangerous and frightening. Homeless children lead lives of crisis and despair and learn to expect the worst. Scottie’s Place offers safety, respite and rejuvenation to these children, helping them to process traumas and overcome fears that have been created as a result of homelessness. This wild and wonderful land goes deep into the soul of a child. In a letter of thanks, one mother wrote, “My children learned about the strong spirit within themselves and the loving and caring spirit of others. In a world where so many bad things can happen, I’m glad there is a Scottie’s Place where children like mine can experience all of the many beautiful things this life has to offer.”
Scottie’s Place serves children who currently reside in shelters or transitional housing, offering them exciting programs that challenge their ideas about the world and their perceived place in it. Rural shelters in West Virginia and urban shelters in Pennsylvania, Ohio, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia and Washington, D.C. have sent their children to Scottie’s Place. Programs include one and two week residential summer sessions and year-round weekend programs. No previous wilderness experience is required and there is no fee for any child.
Case workers, teachers and clergy refer children to Scottie’s Place. Scottie’s Place accepts children ages six to sixteen including sibling groups and youth separated from their families by crisis or policy. Children should be basically healthy and willing to participate. Because this is a wilderness camp with primary concern for the safety of all, youth with a history of violent behavior or other destructive habits should not be referred to the camp. Scottie’s Place provides transportation and all necessary provisions for a child’s stay including appropriate clothing. Our child to staff ratio is 3:1.
Scottie’s Place is a world of breathtaking beauty that offers children the opportunity to be challenged and inspired as well as a chance to rest and heal. Our goal is that children find a new self-awareness at Scottie’s Place – an awareness of their potential for greatness in this world.
“…at Scottie’s Place they were able to test themselves and experience a whole new world that didn’t care about where you lived or what kind of shoes you wore. The increase in self-esteem and confidence was just astounding.”
Dearsley Vernon, Director, A Child’s Place, Charlotte, NC