Camp VIVA, located at the Ramapo Anchorage Camp for Children in Rhinebeck, NY, is a unique program for children and families in Westchester County and the Bronx who are infected with or affected by HIV/AIDS. Founded in 1995, Camp Viva’s week long sleep away camp and reunions provide families with respite from the stressors of daily life, along with opportunities for comraderie, creativity, and care, ultimately reducing stress while working through HIV-related issues.
Our campers tell us that one of the most lasting benefits of Camp VIVA is feeling loved and supported throughout the year by a family and community of people who truly care. As one of our young campers recently put it: “Living with HIV or AIDS gives you a feeling of not-belonging, of being separate and no longer part of the world. At Camp Viva, you belong to a family who accepts, supports and loves you for who you are.”
The activities at VIVA’s week-long sleep away camp include arts and crafts, drama, music, movement, swimming, boating, fishing, ziplining, and Tai-kwon-do. We have everything from movie nights to a talent show to a Disco night for the teens and grown-ups. Activities are arranged by age group and team building is emphasized. Camp VIVA also offers educational seminars on a wide variety of topics such as medication management, nutrition, effective communication, HIV/AIDS awareness and prevention and stress reduction/management.
The VIVA team consists of psychologists and social workers, educators, nurses, spiritual leaders, and a group of talented, committed volunteers. On-site medical care is available round the clock.
VIVA’s REUNIONS and informal gatherings provide a great way for campers to reunite, reflect on the past year, and look forward to another exciting camp season! This year, our March reunion will be hosted once again by our amazing VIVA supporter, the Westchester Reform Temple in Scarsdale. Thanks to the generosity of the VIVA volunteers and the temple, this reunion will allow campers and their families to enjoy food, activities, arts and crafts, as well as access to the “FREE SHOP” filled with gently used and new clothing, toys, and books.
VIVA’s YEAR ROUND follow-up program helps families get the support and educational information they need to live more healthfully and to become strong community advocates for healthy behavior. Our team provides continuity of care by coordinating with case managers based on individual and family needs. Additionally, we offer our Westchester campers the opportunity to connect with FSW’s Living Together Groups for persons with HIV, HIV case management programs and/or HIV mental health services.
GETTING INVOLVED WITH CAMP VIVA 2016
How to Become a Camper:
- Campers must be residents of Westchester or the Bronx
- Campers must either be diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, or have an immediate family member who is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS. If one member of the family is diagnosed with HIV/AIDS, the entire immediate family may attend.
- Children must be bathroom trained and must attend with at least one parent or legal guardian. We do not accept children under 4 years of age.
- Children/families must be referred by a community organization/hospital/medical facility.
All potential campers will be interviewed to ensure appropriateness and readiness for Camp Viva.
For information about how to refer an individual or family to Camp Viva, please contact Meredith Brown at 914-924-3761 or email email@example.com
How to Become a Volunteer:
Each year, volunteers from all walks of life join the Viva family and devote a week of their time and energy to provide campers with a safe, fun-filled, and supportive camp experience. Volunteer counselors work with either child, teen, or adult campers. In the role of counselors, volunteers facilitate camper participation in multiple daily activities and work collectively to provide structure for the event. Some volunteers may also have a particular talent to share at camp like and are encouraged to consider being a specialist in activities such as arts and crafts, music, sports, theater, and movement.
- Volunteers must be 18 years of age or older
- Volunteers must be cleared through the State Central Registry
- Volunteers must be able to stay for the full week of camp, August 21-August 27, 2016. There are also opportunities for Day Volunteers if you cannot commit to the full week of camp.
- If you wish to join our amazing group of volunteers, please fill out an application, by clicking here.
Questions about volunteering should be directed to Christine Moloney, who can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
How to Donate Camper Items:
Keeping nearly 100 families busy for a week requires a lot of supplies! Please consider helping out by donating items for this year’s VIVA activities. To donate items on the wish list, please contact Christina Horzepa: 914-937-2320 or email email@example.com or Meredith Brown: (914) 924-3761 or email firstname.lastname@example.org
You can see our camper wish list by clicking here.
How to Make a Financial Contribution:
Camp Viva operates each year based entirely on the generosity of private donors and foundations and does not receive government funding. Without this support, there would be no opportunity for these individuals, children and families to get a break from the daily stressors of living with HIV/AIDS or enjoy a week filled with fun, new experiences with other campers. Every penny counts and any amount is greatly appreciated! Please consider making a monetary donation by clicking here or by contacting Emily: (914) 305-6834 or email email@example.com.