Serving Children in Foster Care
The boys and girls in our programs represent a severely vulnerable and underserved segment of the population. Although the foster care system is built to protect youth, too often these children are exposed to additional trauma once placed in foster care. They are separated from siblings, relatives and friends. Frequently moved from home to home, they encounter a stream of new caretakers, schools, therapists and peers. Not surprisingly, without proper support, they face an exceptionally high risk of unemployment, homelessness and incarceration as adults.
At Happy Trails, we believe that fostering continuity and belonging is the first step in combating the challenges of foster care and promoting success. Our primary program for foster youth is Happy Trails Camp. Each summer, 200 excited boys and girls head to the Mountains to spend an amazing week in the great outdoors – riding horses, hiking mountains, telling scary stories by the campfire, whispering with new friends in bunk beds, and singing silly songs in the dining hall. By emphasizing retention of the same youth and staff, and by offering year-round reunion events, we are able to impart meaningful stability and a sense of community.
Happy Trails has two programs specifically for our older campers: LASSO ("Learning Adulthood Skills and Supporting Ourselves") and the Junior Counselor program. These programs provide mentorship and leadership opportunities, while helping prepare our campers for life after foster care.
Happy Trails for Kids is about fun and friendship and developing self-confidence for youth in foster care.