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Supporting Youth Mental Health at Summer Camp

Lidia Harding
Agency news Blog Programs
Highland summer camp

A supportive space at Highland Summer Camp

As youth continue to manage their anxiety of easing back to in-person, and social activities, finding a supportive environment is crucial. Thanks to funding from the Best Starts for Kids Initiative and the partnership between Youth Eastside Services (YES) and International Community Health Services (ICHS), students will find that space at the fourth annual Highland Health Center Summer Camp. The camp is a summer support program of the Highland School-Based Clinic located at Bellevue’s Highland Middle School.

“” said YES Behavioral Health Support Specialist at Highland Health Center and camp facilitator, Sarah Burdell.

Highland Health Center Summer Camp is a free three-week summer day camp for 15 students who have sought services at the Highland Middle School Health Center this past school year. The day camp will provide students with a safe environment and opportunities to socialize, have fun, learn new skills, and move their bodies. Staff will include YES and ICHS clinicians and graduating eighth-graders and high school students who will be junior counselors.

Discovering career pathways

The Highland Health Center is partnering with local non-profits to introduce campers to different careers. For example, one of the trips being planned is a trip to the Woodland Park Zoo where campers would get to go behind the scenes.

“We have kids who want to work with animals. This gives them an opportunity to learn about careers that people don’t traditionally learn about. For example, we hope to introduce them to everyone from a zookeeper to fundraiser, to event planner to vet techs. It takes many talents to care for animals. We want to show them as many as possible,” said Sarah.

Not only will the campers get to go on these field trips but they’ll also have a blast at Crossroads Park, right next door to the YES Bellevue office, doing art projects, playing sports, and having daily group discussions.

Only possible through community support

YES and ICHS are able to offer the Highland Summer Camp, for the fourth year in a row, thanks to community support and local partnerships, that continue to support youth and families struggling with mental health and substance use challenges.

Please consider making a gift today to provide children, youth, and families programs that support their mental health and recovery like the Highland Health Center Summer Camp. Thanks to donations like yours the Highland Summer Camp is free and available to students and families who otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford these opportunities.

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