For many children, the simple joys of a swim in the lake, a walk in the woods, and the fellowship of a campfire are once-in-a-lifetime experiences. For too many others, abuse and neglect have robbed them of those simple joys of childhood. For them, they are never-in-a-lifetime experiences.
Through the vision of community volunteers in 1979, Camp Opportunity was founded to provide those experiences to Greenville children in foster care. Since then, we have provided thousands of children with the experiences of their lifetimes. In 1986, we received our 501©3 status, and in 2014, our dream expanded beyond sleeping bags & starry nights, pine trees & paddle boats, and canoes & campfire songs. Today, we are “Blue Tent,” and we are kindling year-round adventures for kids ALL Upstate SC kids affected by abuse and neglect.
- 1979: Founded by Greenville volunteers
- 1980: First week of summer camp on a donated camp ground in SC
- 1986: Incorporated as a 501c3
- 2012: First week at Camp Tekoa in Hendersonville, NC
- 2014: Renewed vision and identity as Blue Tent!
There is no time more formative than childhood. These are the years during which our behaviors, thoughts, and development lay the foundation for the rest of our lives. It is when we establish our sense of belonging and value—and when maltreatment is most harmful.
We know that almost 12,000 children in South Carolina are victims of maltreatment every year — through no fault of their own. The overall health of children affected by abuse and neglect is worse than their peers. The exposure to violence, the lack of a permanent home, and the absence of a consistent learning environment can hinder a child’s physical, intellectual, emotional and cognitive development. The long-term outcomes for our kids are also far from stellar. Of the children who age out of foster care nationally, less than 2% receive college degrees, and more than half are unemployed within the first four years of leaving the system; almost a quarter have been homeless, and nearly a third have been on public assistance*.
The children we serve have been robbed of their childhoods. Instead of experiencing the joy of being a kid, children affected by abuse and neglect are burdened with bruises and worried about where they will sleep each night.
We want to provide a chance at childhood. We offer a week of peace at a summer camp and year-round adventures that encourage kids served by Blue Tent to explore their talents, their skills, and the natural world around them.