Watch online: Check out ABC7's latest installment of "Just Like Me" which aired on Sunday, August 18. Get a sense of the how the campers really feel and see how camp empowers these kids and sends them home so very proud of themselves and so connected to their new and old friends for support all year long.
See the first segment here.
Watch the second segment here.
The Taylor Family Foundation's Mission is to preserve the wellness and enhance the quality of life for children in Northern California living with life-threatening and chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities and youth at-risk through unique therapeutic experiences and support.
The First 10 Years
• In 1990 Barry and Elaine Taylor held a simple fundraiser in the backyard of their home to garner support for children with little or no resources.
• At the time, there were nearly 1,000 Bay Area children living with HIV/AIDS. The Taylor's decided to focus their fundraising efforts on these children. They started The Taylor Family Foundation (TTFF) to support clinical programs, social programs, holiday events, summer field trips and activity days for these children.
• TTFF became aware of a one-week summer camp that accommodated 35-40 HIV/AIDS children each year. Only the most ill and fragile children were selected to attend. Determined to make outdoor adventures possible for more children to experience, TTFF decided to build their own camp for children with HIV/AIDS.
• It took more than a year, but thanks to a long-standing relationship with the East Bay Regional Park District (EBRPD), TTFF found the right space - a wonderful 138-acre property in the Livermore Valley.
• EBRPD had planned on building a "sustainable science education camp" on the land that would be used during the school year. Since TTFF only needed a camp on weekends and in the summer, the two organizations partnered to raise the nearly $7 million funds needed to build Camp Arroyo.
• Construction began in 1999, and by spring 2001, the dining hall, swim complex, six duplex cabins and site infrastructure were completed.
The Next 10 Years
• When Camp Arroyo opened its doors in 2000, there were only 200 Bay Area children with HIV/AIDS. Although halting the spread of HIV among children was a dream come true, the reality was that TTFF wanted to fill its 144-bed camp facility.
• TTFF decided to open up Camp Arroyo to children with a variety of life-threatening and chronic illnesses, developmental disabilities and youth at-risk.
• In 2002, TTFF contracted YMCA of the East Bay as Camp Arroyo's concessionaire. The YMCA utilizes Camp Arroyo during the academic school year as an Outdoor Environmental Education operator for local students in 4th through 6th grades.
The children TTFF serves come from all over Northern California, each in specialized groups so children camp with others who share the same needs. Each year TTFF provides a once-in-a-lifetime camp experience for almost 3,000 children during the summer and on select weekends. In the 20-year tenure as a foundation, TTFF has helped more than 40,000 children attend camp and has provided respite for nearly 70,000 parents.
Here are some of the amenities you'll find at TTFF's Camp Arroyo:
- 7,500 sq. ft. dining hall that seats 200
- Indoor and outdoor stages
- 12 cabins with restrooms, which sleep 12 campers per cabin (144 total)
- 3,500 sq. ft. swimming pool with grass and BBQ area
- Boys' and girls' bath houses
- Arts and crafts center
- Sport court
- High- and low-challenge courses with a climbing wall
- 1½ acre meadow for field sports
- Two additional grass areas adjacent to dining hall
- Organic garden
Plus there's a campfire circle and amphitheater—the perfect spot for roasting marshmallows and sharing stories!
For more information, about East Bay Regional Park District, please visit: www.ebparks.org/activities/daycamps/arroyo
For more information about YMCA of the East Bay, please visit www.ymcaeastbay.org/camparroyo/