Approximately 120 youngsters will be attending the 2013 Camp Dreamcatcher from Aug. 18-24. Since Kennett Square resident Patty Hillkirk founded the camp in 1996, it has served youngsters who have been impacted by HIV/AIDS. These youngsters come from Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, New Jersey and New York. Camp Dreamcatcher provides innovative leadership programs for kids as they move from being campers to counselors-in-training to leaders-in-training. The organization has also added a mentoring program.

“Seventy percent of the campers and counselors have been attending our programs for over ten years," explained Hillkirk. “Our new mentoring program provides a much-needed addition to our year-round programming. The program matches ten mentees who are between the ages of 17 and 24 to ten mentors (counselors) for a one-year commitment. The program provides ongoing support to young adults, empowering them to understand their full potential as caring and compassionate leaders.”

When the 2013 camp begins at Camp Saginaw outside Oxford next week, more than 200 counselors, medical personnel, professionals and community members will volunteer during the camp session, contributing over 12,000 hours of volunteer service. The camp is the largest program offered by Camp Dreamcatcher, Inc., which also provides weekend retreats, reunion events, a mentoring program, a holiday adopt-a-family program and HIV/AIDS education, training and community outreach.

Campers will participate in a multitude of therapeutic, educational and recreational programs. Yoga, massage, mindfulness meditation, qigong and acupuncture will be offered to relieve stress and encourage relaxation. Art therapy, playback theatre, music therapy and psychotherapy sessions will also be offered to encourage the safe expression of feelings.

Educational programs will explore topics such as HIV/AIDS, depression, team-building, conflict resolution, bullying prevention, addiction, abuse, body image and family and community violence. Campers will also enjoy swimming, fishing, canoeing, basketball, laser tag, hip hop dancing, go-kart racing, miniature golfing, arts/crafts, a John Flynn concert, tennis, horseback riding, a visit from “Paws & Claws Pet Store,” archery and the annual dance and talent show.

Camp Dreamcatcher is still in need of volunteers to help during registration on Aug. 18 or during recreational programming throughout the week.  If interested, please contact Patty Hillkirk atcampdreamcatcher@kennett.net or call 610-925-2998.