One of our core values at Camp Harbor View is to center the voices and experiences of our community in everything we do. We see it again and again, when the teens and families in our programs play a meaningful role in shaping our community initiatives, we maximize impact.
The two of us recently had an opportunity to share with the American Camp Association community about our philosophy on centering participant voice and choice, as well as some of the tangible steps we’ve taken as an organization to make this aspiration a reality. Here are the three keys:
Always be learning We believe that to be our best, we must acknowledge the wins while constantly focusing on how we are learning from the participants in our programs. This is easier said than done, and we are working on it.
We’re relentless about inviting feedback and input after our programs, and we’re dedicated to building real relationships so teens and families know we’re really ready to listen, not just check off a box. And we make sure that we don’t rely on just one format or avenue of listening and learning.
• Surveys can be a quick method to hear from lots of folks, but they’re impersonal and might get lost in inboxes. One essential element is to make them easy to fill out and keep them short. One tactic we use is to ask one question after a session: “Did you like this activity?” • There’s nothing like an in-person conversation, but this requires travel, child care, and more.
The key is to offer more than one avenue to engage so everyone has a chance to contribute.
Collect data and review it regularly Our process of becoming a learning organization is ongoing. One of the best ways we’ve instituted this culture change is by collecting data, analyzing it, and adjusting our programs—over and over again.
One of our areas of focus has been to create simple systems to review data regularly and reflect on what we’re learning as a team. A pile of data is useless unless you’re looking at it, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed. A monthly team meeting to review survey results, attendance, and other data is a helpful milestone.
Commit to co-design At Camp Harbor View, we’ve established a Youth Council and Parent Advisory Board. These are new leadership groups in our organization. We are not just asking them for feedback, we are working with them to co-design our programs. We know that if we want to elevate our game and maximize our impact, it will be led with young people and parents walking the journey with us.
Whether you’re also running programs for youth and families or if you’re at a different kind of organization or company, we’d love to hear how you center voice and choice in your culture. Join the conversation over on Linkedin.
New data released this week by Camp Harbor View show that direct cash payments to Boston families are having a transformative impact on nearly every aspect of their lives.
The Boston Globe covered the new data in an article on Nov. 8th — read it here.
It has been just over a year since two nonprofits, Camp Harbor View and UpTogether, teamed up to launch a privately funded $800,000 guaranteed income pilot program. The program provides 50 Boston households $7,000/year for two years, distributed in monthly payments of $583. These families are able to use the funds however they choose and do not need to pay it back.
Evaluations of survey data from the first year of the program provides strong evidence that cash payments to families helps them relieve economic stress, achieve stability, and invest in growth. The pilot also tracks a group of families who are not receiving funds in order to understand the qualitative and quantitative impact of the pilot.
Initial data show that:
Families receiving the payments are 40% less likely to have unmet household needs than the group not receiving payments (eg. child care, heating costs, or dental care)
During the first year of the pilot, families receiving payments reduced their risk of distress by 23%, while families not receiving payments had an 11% decrease.
Families receiving payments are more likely to…
Be able to pay bills
Save money consistently
Have over a month’s worth of income saved for an emergency
Pay for household needs like transportation, groceries, and childcare
Tierra Lyons, a parent in the program, said joining the program was a “no brainer” and that the monthly income has helped to stabilize her family’s finances and allowed her to save toward a down payment for a house.
“I had just never experienced this level of radical generosity. Now I can put all of my time, my energy, my resources into just supporting my family because I know that I’m supported as a parent,” Lyons said.
Camp Harbor View Executive Vice President Lisa Fortenberry said the early results are very encouraging — but not surprising.
“It’s an idea that seems too obvious to be as groundbreaking as it is,” said Camp Harbor View Executive Vice President Lisa Fortenberry. “People know what they need to support a healthy family, and with trust and partnership, they can make changes that lead to better physical and mental health, better housing, and education and career paths.”
Today, we’re proud to launch a campaign called “Ready to Run” featuring young people from our programs on billboards and on video screens across the city of Boston and suburbs.
Highlighting CHV’s partnership with Boston teens and families, the campaign will feature on two billboards on the Southeast Expressway (I-93), at Boston Logan Airport, across other transportation hubs and shopping centers across the metro area along with digital media.
Our goal with this campaign is to introduce Camp Harbor View to a new generation of Bostonians and raise awareness across Greater Boston about the impact CHV is having every single day. Like the billboards say, these young leaders are ready to run this town — and we’re ready to do everything we can to make that happen.
From Thanksgiving dinner to gifts at the holidays, this annual tradition seeks to alleviate family stress and bring kids joy. It’s one of our most meaningful programs for families and donors alike, with both experiencing the generosity of spirit in the holiday season.
Take a look at this heartwarming video to see the Camp Harbor View community’s holiday celebrations with over 400 families from start to finish.
Thanks to the generous support of hundreds of donors, partners, and volunteers, we doubled the number of families reached this year, distributing $101,800 in gift cards for parents to use to purchase their children items on their wishlist, bins with household essentials, and festive holiday supplies. Happy Holidays for all of us at Camp Harbor View!
At Camp Harbor View we believe that it takes real relationships with the entire family to fully support Boston’s next generation. In this video you’ll meet Paula and three of her kids — Lereca, Bryan, and Gyara. They’ve been part of the Camp Harbor View family for over ten years — and their story shows how powerful we can be together when we invest in Boston families.
On Tuesday, November 17, 2020, Camp Harbor Views – a free online experience for families, supporters, and champions of our mission – celebrated the resiliency of our community and shared our views on the past, present, and future of the organization.
Hosted by Jenny Johnson of NESN’s Dining Playbook and Camp Harbor View’s Advisory Council, it was an evening full of surprises. Over 700 attendees heard from organization leaders, champions, and a few special guests sharing stories of joy, hope, and the community that made it all possible. The celebration was capped off with four impressive Leaders in Training sharing their 2020 experiences and why they’re hopeful for the future.
Watch the evening’s program from start to finish below to hear more young leaders share their perspectives. We promise it will leave you energized and inspired.
Camp Harbor View is made possible by the generous support of donors. We hope you’re inspired to continue to invest in the future of Boston with us. Please consider donating to support our mission and share the magic of Camp Harbor View with family, friends, and fellow Bostonians by following us on social media. Thank you for being a part of this community.
We’re excited to continue #BostonBlackHistory this February in celebration of Black History Month, posting stories on the legacy of Black history in our wonderful and culturally rich city across our social media channels and encouraging everyone in Boston to join the conversation by sharing stories of their own.
Leaders in Training in our program helped brainstorm and develop the stories we’re telling. History matters and representation matters – and through this project we seek to highlight the great diversity and character of the city of Boston.
Here are just a few of our favorites from the stories told by teens in our program and by members of this community so far. Do you have one to add? Post it to your social channels with the hashtag #BostonBlackHistory or send it our way via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or Instagram @campharborview. Please join us in raising awareness of these important stories.
Teens in the Camp Harbor View Leadership Academy are gaining new skills and developing campaigns to have a positive impact on social issues, thanks to a new program in partnership with AT&T.
The Positively Digital program will include hands-on training for teens in grades 9-11 in Camp Harbor View’s year-round leadership development program. AT&T selected Camp Harbor View, The Base, and Boys & Girls Clubs of Boston as partners in the project and it kicked off with a panel discussion June 5th at the Boston Public Library.
“While we need to be cognizant of too much screen time and other connectivity dangers like cyberbullying, trolls, and the spread of false information, we think it is time to flip the script a bit and take advantage of an opportunity that is at hand,” the three wrote.
“All of us — parents, teachers, mentors, youth organizations — need to empower kids to think differently about technology and use it as a tool for positive change.”
View updates from the launch event on Instagram and from AT&T— and follow us for more updates as the teens roll out their campaigns.
Today is the first day of Black History Month and we’re excited to share with you an initiative we’ll be engaging in all month long. In our teen programming and on our social media channels, we’ll be celebrating the rich (and complicated) history of being black in Boston. We’re calling the project #BostonBlackHistory and we would like you to be a part of it.
Getting involved is really quite simple — we’ll be posting images and stories from leaders, activists, and change agents in our city’s black history throughout the month of February to Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin, Facebook, and our website. However, there’s absolutely zero chance that we can do justice to about four centuries of black history by ourselves; that’s where you come in.
We’re hoping you’ll join us in using the hashtag #BostonBlackHistory and posting stories and memories to your own social media profiles or to the profile of your school, company, or organization. What stories have you lived — whether they’re about you, or your family, your friends, your community? What stories or heroes from this city’s history have inspired you? Maybe you remember when Martin Luther King, Jr., led thousands in a march from Roxbury to the Boston Common to protest school segregation. Maybe you went to Burke High School with Donna Summer. Maybe your own mom or dad or grandmother is a part of #BostonBlackHistory. We want to hear your stories.
Subscribe to our emails to make sure you don’t miss anything — we’ll be sending a few updates on the project throughout the month.
We’re looking forward to digging into our city’s rich history with you.
BOSTON (The Boston Globe) – CAMP HARBOR VIEW is beginning our 11th season this week. In the past 10 years, we have learned a lot about operating Camp Harbor View. We know that we need 20,000 gallons of drinking water and 8,000 hot dogs for each summer session, and that we can expect to teach about 50 kids to swim for the first time in their lives.