We are very excited to share this news! This fall, Camp Chica joins Vámonos Outside and The Children’s Forest of Central Oregon to continue providing bilingual adventure camp programs for elementary-aged girls in Central Oregon. Vámonos Outside’s mission is to “connect, engage, and empower our Latinx/BIPOC community by creating outdoor recreation opportunities to make a lasting impact on individuals and families.” Camp Chica will be one of several culturally-sustaining programs for youth who identify as Latino/a/e/x and or BIPOC that are a part of Va?monos Outside. Camp Chica will continue to focus on programs during out-of-school time including adventures on early-release Wednesdays, no-school day camps, and summer camps. Their curriculum will remain focused on connecting girls to nature and place, to themselves, and creating a community that celebrates bilingualism. The program will continue at Bear Creek Elementary in Bend, with plans to grow a counselor-in-training program for middle school girls.
Camp Chica LLC started in fall 2022 after completing the childcare accelerator program provided by Neighbor Impact and COCC. Through fiscal sponsorship from the Children’s Forest and several grants, they were able to allocate 50-80% of their capacity to scholarship participants. They learned that out-of-school time camps had the biggest impact (in terms of addressing childcare needs) for Spanish-speaking families. Moving forward, Camp Chica will be a free program. “Vámonos Outside was an inspiration for me when we created Camp Chica and it is so incredible to be able to join the team and continue the work” shares Veronica Vega, Camp Chica founder and Director.
“We are so thrilled for Veronica and Molly to join our team in a more permanent capacity! They are both amazing educators who have built an incredible program that has already had so much impact. This partnership allows Camp Chica to continue as a free program for all participants, and also allows us to build more capacity for Vámonos Outside’s Jugamos Afuera program and family programs,” shares Katie Chipko, Children’s Forest Executive Director.