SF Lighthouse Corps offers unique summer day camp

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CHILDREN ENJOY A field trip to the Jelly Belly factory in San Francisco, CA as part of the Lighthouse Corps summer day camp program

In a world where at-risk kids are often neglected, criticized, and abused, the San Francisco Lighthouse Corps continues to touch lives through its innovative corps youth programs.

One such program was this summer’s “Fun in the Son!” summer day camp, which specifically targeted low-middle income youth from San Francisco and its surrounding communities.

“What made this camp unusual,” said Captain Lawry Smith, Lighthouse corps officer, “is that the corps’ day camp and Harbor Light programs both operated on the same campus.”

The Harbor Light Center houses nearly 90 residents in its residential alcohol and drug treatment program, as well as 20 single-parent families in its Harbor House facility.

Although the corps falls under the San Francisco Harbor Light Center “umbrella,” that did not stop the corps from providing a safe, fun environment for more than 50 kids at the summer day camp.

“The need for programs such as this became apparent when our waiting list exceeded the number of children enrolled in our program,” stated Smith.

Children enjoyed arts and crafts, Bible classes, music, recreation, reading and study time, swimming, field trips and more. In addition, breakfast, lunch, and a healthy snack were offered daily.


“It is our desire to be a recovery corps that offers a place of new beginnings to individuals and families in need, through the LIGHT of Christ.”

In the early stages of planning, concerns arose that the camp would impact existing adult programs. Noise control, meals and outdoor recreation all had to be worked out in order to make things come together. “Day camp Director Jennifer Schapals did an excellent job of organizing the camp schedule and so far the impact has been only positive,” said Smith.

“We see this as a real collaborative effort,” she added, “as residents, officers, and staff have come together to work as a team.” Cadets Craig and Marsha Little, on summer assignment from SFOT, have participated as assistant day camp directors. Captain Richard Reuer, associate officer, has pitched in wherever needed to add to the success of the program.

Smith says the best part is seeing Harbor Light/Harbor House residents interacting with the kids. “It seems to give them a boost and a sense of hope as they continue to struggle with the issues of recovery. One staff member even commented on how the children bring ‘a sense of life to this place’.”

“How wonderful it is to be able to embrace all walks of life under one roof, adults and children alike,” said Captain Phil Smith, executive director of the Harbor Light Center.

This year, Harbor Light celebrates its 60th anniversary at its current location.

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