LASSO (β€œLearning Adulthood Skills and Supporting Ourselves”) 

To promote stability and community, Happy Trails for Kids strives to keep our campers and staff committed to the program for the long haul. As a result, youth are growing up with Happy Trails. We are increasing serving populations of youth who are entering their adolescent and even young adult years.  

Campers ages 14 years and older are eligible to participate in the LASSO program, which are specialized workshops and events designed to help prepare them for life after foster care and the responsibilities of adulthood.  

Junior Counselor Program

Former campers ages 16 and 17 are eligible to serve as Junior Counselors at camp.  To be considered, a youth must submit a resume and application, provide letters of recommendations, participate in an interview and complete a rigorous training program.  

If selected, Junior Counselors work at camp for one week and are paid a modest stipend.  This opportunity offers increased responsibility, job skills development, a leadership role, and the chance to mentor younger children in foster care, while still providing transition age youth with the wonders of camp.

Trails to Success Initiative

Finally, as we increasingly serve youth who are entering their adolescent years, there is both an opportunity and responsibility to provide enhanced, and more holistic programming. We are looking to expand our older youth programming, and build upon the Junior Counselor Program, and our Learning Adulthood Skills to Support Ourselves ("LASSO") Program. As a result, we are rolling out our Trails to Success Initiative. As campers reach their teen years, the need for connectivity becomes increasingly critical. Under the Trails to Success Initiative, Happy Trails will strengthen the relationships, trust and stability we have already established with campers, and facilitate enhanced programming. The Initiative is grounded on the principles, and most importantly, spirit of camp.

Trails to Success Building Blocks

  • Year round LASSO Counselor for campers 16 and over
  • Collaboration with existing resources and supports
  • Dedicated staff to support and expand Junior Counselor summer program
  • Increased training and leadership opportunities for Junior Counselors
  • Targeted events offered year round

To learn more about our programs and services, click here.

Every year in California, about 4,000 youth age out of the foster care system without adequate support or skills.  Our older youth programming aims to change the outcomes for youth in our community.  Events include college explorations, workshops, career panels and fun activities designed to expose older foster youth to skills necessary to support themselves to become healthy, happy and productive citizens.

To learn more about Transition Aged Youth, check out a few reports below: