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Tiffany Araya: Program Director at The Felix Organization

The Felix Organization provides kids in foster care with enriching activities that expand their horizons. Their central program, Camp Felix, is a free summer camp for foster kids to connect with one other, have fun, and explore their passions. The Felix Organization provides assistance every step of the way to ensure foster kids are supported and cared for above all else. Learn more about their work here!

Can you tell me about your experience as a camper at Camp Felix?


I started going to Camp Felix with my brother when I was 12 years old. We weren’t in foster care but were introduced to Camp Felix through an afterschool program my brother was in for troubled youth. Camp was a magical experience that took me out of my community and comfort zone. Camp is free which is amazing because I never could have afforded to go to sleepaway camp otherwise. It’s a community where I met other kids in similar situations and it pushed me to expand my cultural understanding. I was so passionate about Camp Felix that I went every summer until I was 16, did a counselor-in-training program, and started working there full time after college.


Can you explain the challenges campers face as foster kids?


Foster children often live in a state of constant disarray as they move between homes and court visits. Camp Felix is a constant family that they can hold onto in those storms. The foster care system is so inundated with cases and the social workers are overextended, which means that fun activities are normally not top of mind when they think about resources to provide kids. Most agencies have such limited budgets that they have to prioritize the essentials. The Felix Organization gets to provide those engaging, fun extracurricular activities that help make a full childhood experience.


What skills do you hope kids have as they leave Camp Felix?


We hope that kids feel a sense of belonging and know that they have a family that cares about them and sees their innate worth. Camp expands their perception of what is possible for them when they are exposed to so many new activities like swimming, yoga, dance, talent shows, and more. There is so much confidence and growth that is unlocked when kids experience these activities, and their horizons are broadened as a result. Camp isn’t part of many cultural communities, so we are giving kids a chance to do something brand new.


What is the best part of working for The Felix Organization as a camp alum?


It feels so natural because of how fully immersed I was in the experience of camp. The Felix Organization community has embraced me in so many ways, from sleepaway camp to helping me pay for college textbooks through our Beyond Camp program. It’s amazing to give back to kids attending Camp Felix since I know the program and its benefits so well and am so passionate about the organization. I want it to be as fun and meaningful as possible for these kids, they deserve it.

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