JFCS Camp Mariposa addiction prevention program opens

Camp Mariposa is a national addiction prevention and mentoring program that primarily serves youth ages 9-13. The core component of the Camp Mariposa program model is free weekend sessions (Friday evening through Sunday afternoon) that are held 6 times throughout the year. Each camp weekend offers traditional camp activities enhanced with educational and therapeutic elements designed to teach youth a variety of problem-solving and self-care strategies. For example, structured educational components teach participants about dangers of drugs and alcohol, as well as their own predisposition to develop a SUD. Small group discussions give youth the opportunity to talk about the challenges of living with a family member struggling with a SUD.

Camp Mariposa utilizes a hybrid group and peer mentoring model. The weekend camp sessions are purposely kept small, with a maximum of 25-30 children, to create a sense of community so that program participants can establish relationships with both mentors and peers. All Camp Mariposa locations are required to have at least a 1:3 mentor to youth ratio at each camp weekend. Throughout the weekend, the youth have immediate access to trained and caring mentors who are there to help them. The same program participants and mentors commit to attending sessions for a minimum period of one year. Often, these mentors become a primary support for the youth during the time they attend the program.

In addition to camp weekends, some Camp Mariposa locations offer program participants and mentors the opportunity to connect during group activities held in the months in between camp weekends. These additional activities offer both mentors and participants the opportunity to develop deeper relationships with each other outside the camp setting. These additional activities have resulted in stronger connections between youth and mentors in the program. Finally, family engagement is a key to the success of the Camp Mariposa program model. Many Camp Mariposa locations offer fun social activities for program participants and their families. These activities are provided at no-cost to families and offer the opportunity for all family members to have fun in safe environment.

For more information, contact Renee Mezer.