Featured in The Positive Press

At Camp Fire NJ, we believe, from the bottom of our hearts, that young people want to shape the world. Camp Fire provides the opportunity to find their spark, lift their voice, and discover who they are. In Camp Fire, it begins now!

Camp Fire NJ touches the lives of 15,000 children from preschool through 12th grade, providing hope to children and adolescents facing tribulations that adults today cannot even begin to fathom. In times of both discovery and challenge, Camp Fire NJ programs protect and prepare vulnerable youth during critical periods in their psycho-social, physical, and academic development.

The majority of Camp Fire NJ programs are school-based prevention education programs. Instructors are certified teachers who serve as adult mentors and impart knowledge and skills to the youth they can carry with them throughout their lives.

  • SAFE AND SURE for preschool through 1st grade, teaches safe decision-making, self-confidence, and assertiveness skills.
  • COUNT ON ME KIDS for 1st and 2nd graders teaches them to be assertive and self-reliant. The children learn social skills and effective strategies for overcoming negative peer pressure.
  • CAUTION WITHOUT FEAR teaches 3rd and 4th graders to Stop, Think, and Go in order to make smart and safe decisions. This program addresses grit, empathy, coping skills, and goal setting.
  • PEER PROOF helps 5th and 6th graders discover their “spark,” recognize the tough situations they may face, and find the motivation to rise above the challenges.
  • STRIVE TO THRIVE helps 7th and 8th graders to interact with others and overcome the many obstacles they may face.
  • TEENS ON FIRE empowers teenagers to be leaders by mentoring younger students and doing community service and community events.

Additionally, Camp Fire NJ addresses issues as they arise. Car accidents were once the leading cause of death in every state, but recently in NJ, overdoses have surpassed that. Camp Fire NJ and Kriger Consulting have joined the fight against opiate use and are trying to save the lives and futures of the youth we work with.

The program for high schoolers teaches critical skills, knowledge, and behavioral options to help students avoid critical errors leading to drug use that have cost the lives of so many young children in NJ. We focus on making choices, self-esteem, healthy methods for stress reduction, conflict resolution, and the dangers of legal and illegal substances.

One parent said these programs help with parents’ “understanding of what to do in different situations.” Another felt “the kids tend to listen to trusted adults other than their parents … any program that teaches a child anything about safety is needed.” Teachers refer to the “positive energy and realistic approach” and that it discusses “difficult situations … very age appropriate and relatable for the students.”

But the most touching responses are from the students: “Thank you so much for … teaching us about what we will face in life. I have learned how to solve verbal problems and to not be tempted by drugs, alcohol, or cigarettes. Stop, think, go.” “You taught me so much about the outside. I learned my inner self. You are truly a hero.” “Thank you for teaching us how to deal with bullying, communicate and deal with everyday stress, all in the right way. From the bottom of my heart, I just want to say… THANK YOU!”

From the parents, to the teachers, to the students, it is clear that Camp Fire NJ makes a meaningful and lasting impact on youth and families throughout NJ. Furthermore, the evidence-based approach that Camp Fire NJ uses through evaluations run by The College of New Jersey ensure that they remain knowledgeable and are always ready for the next challenge that our youth may face. So, with Camp Fire NJ, we ask YOU to Find YOUR Spark and Light the Fire Within!

See original story here.