Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Have You Heard of The Fresh Air Fund?

I was recently contacted by an organization called The Fresh Air Fund to help them promote their program. I'd never heard of them before, as they are based in New York City, so I went to their site to see what they are all about. It turns out that their mission is something I hold near and dear to my heart: providing kids the opportunity to experience life in the country, either through stays with host families or at one of their summer camps.

Since 1877, The Fresh Air Fund, a not-for-profit agency, has provided free summer vacations in the country to more than 1.7 million New York City children from disadvantaged communities. Each year, thousands of children visit volunteer host families in 13 states and Canada through the Friendly Town Program or attend one of five Fresh Air Fund camps.

Through The Fund’s Friendly Town program, close to 5,000 children visit volunteer host families each summer in rural and suburban communities and 3,000 children enjoy themselves at one of the five Fresh Air camps in upstate New York.

I grew up on a farm in Missouri (see this post for a piece of my past) before I moved on to city life and I cherish my childhood memories of roaming through fields and forests and wish that all kids could have the opportunity to experience life in a natural, safe environment. I am also a self-professed summer camp fanatic that depended on summer camp for all my summertime social activities (the isolation of a farm can be a bit intense for eight weeks of no school) when I was growing up.

I just finished signing my two oldest (7 and 9) for their first trip to sleepaway camp. They are both so excited (and maybe a wee bit nervous) to get to spend two whole weeks immersed in nature, swimming, archery, and kids upon kids upon kids. :) And I can tell you, it is not cheap to provide this for your kids. The camp my kids are going to is pretty reasonable (when comparing it to the one a few town over that is $4700 for four weeks: what the... ??) but it is still a price that would be unattainable for a lot of kids. So I am amazed that the Fresh Air Fund is able to provide camp experiences for 3,000 kids a summer!

I know times are tight, but I hope that some of you will be able to make a contribution to this worthwhile cause. Every dollar adds up!

If you live near New York State in the US or Canada, you can also sign up to be a host family:
Friendly Town host families are volunteers who live in the suburbs or small town communities. Host families range in size, ethnicity and background, but share the desire to open their hearts and homes to give city children an experience they will never forget. Hosts say the Fresh Air experience is as enriching for their own families, as it is for the inner-city children. There are no financial requirements for hosting a child. Volunteers may request the age-group and gender of the Fresh Air youngster they would like to host.
For more information, please see the Fresh Air Fund website. This link will take you to their press relese pages that provide banners and buttons, if you would like to help out by spreading the word in your blog. :)

Thank you so much for considering this thoughtful organization. It makes me feel so good that I might be able to help them out a little bit by telling you about them.


  1. What a great cause! I definitely trasure my summer vacations when I was a kid.

  2. Sounds awesome.

    Would, um, would I, um, do you think I'm too old to go on one of those camps?

  3. What a fantastic post and cause, Amy. Seriously, thank you for sharing this with the blogosphere. I will talk to my husband and see what we can donate.

    Allowing children to experience life outside of TV, video games, and everything else is so very important. :)


  4. When I was a kid, we had a girl (my age) from the Fresh Air Fund every summer. . . we got to be great friends. . .

  5. My son goes to church camp every summer and has a BLAST! Every child needs an opportunity to get away and have fun with other kids! I made a donation. The minimal donation, but hey! It's something for those kids!

  6. Camp was an integral part of my identity formation and truly enriched my childhood.



    Awesome charity. Great mission.

  7. Thanks for showing me this cause! I grew up on a farm in Illinois, so I understand where you're coming from. I also worked for a summer camp in the Poconos for two months in college so I know firsthand how nice it is for the city kids to get away for a short time. I hope your kids have a great time!

  8. Jesus Mary Joseph, did you get paid for that??
    hi5hi5 oh god sorry i love Ann's new hi5...:)))

  9. What a great cause. I now my summers spent at the Teton Boys camp will always be wonderful growth memories for me. ( Locate in Driggs Idaho right outside Jackson Hole, WY. Building fences, painting homes for old folks, what ever we were told to do. No pay just the hard work and experience. ) You are the Best Amy.

  10. omg! I wish my son could live part-time out up in the country with fresh air n stinky pigs n stuff!

  11. Awesome idea to spread the word. My kids go to camp for a month and we have a family cottage. I would love to share some of our good fortune with others.


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