In 1999, the San Rafael Police Department created a one-week summer camp, called “Camp Chance,” for at-risk and underserved youth ages 11 through 13 living in our community. Over 1,223 youth from Marin and Sonoma Counties have benefited from this enriching camping program since its inception. In 2008, SRPD and MCSO partnered with the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) and selected Walker Creek Ranch, an MCOE facility, to host Camp Chance. The Ranch provides adult leadership for all camp activities and we facilitate workshops on topics relevant to today’s youth, such as anger management and bullying.
At Camp Chance, children participate in traditional camping activities such as swimming, hiking, and nature studies. In addition, they are given the opportunity to create and foster rapport with peace officers in a personal and relaxed setting. This rapport has historically continued to flourish when the children return to their home.
Marin County Sheriff deputies join with San Rafael police officers to participate with the kids in all the activities throughout the week. This informal and personal contact with peace officers has proven to be a big win-win for the kids, police and community. When children feel more connected with their community and build a good relationship with their police officers, they are less likely to be involved in destructive behavior and criminal activity.
In 2019, more than 60 children attended Camp Chance. Additional campers were 14–15 year-old teenagers who returned as Counselors-In-Training (CIT’s), our alumni program for kids who previously attended Camp Chance and have demonstrated the leadership characteristics to now be a role model for the younger campers, as well as assist the senior staff with facilitating the program.
Plans are well underway for Camp Chance 2020. Please consider a donation to Camp Chance today — the program is completely funded by local citizens and businesses — we rely on people like you who can give the campers a chance.
Our tax-exempt number is 94-6000424. Please make checks payable to “The City of San Rafael.”