Nestled in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, Camp Fresno is a 35-acre site located near Dinkey Creek that has been operated by the City of Fresno since the 1920’s. It has provided a retreat for thousands of campers in its 60-plus cabins and shared facilities. After touring the camp, Mayor Dyer instructed his administration to work in earnest to prepare it for the City’s youth starting in the summer of 2021. One challenge was the camp’s dilapidated state. A 2015 Blair Church and Flynn site study3 revealed the camp needed approximately $5.3M in investments to restore it to its former glory.
Lacking a repair budget for youth camps, Mayor Dyer nevertheless forged ahead, intent on providing the experience to hundreds of Fresno youth aged 8 – 17. The Mayor was particularly driven to focus the camp on changing the trajectory of our disadvantaged, and often marginalized, youth. Campers would receive:
- Access to free 1 and 3-day camps
- Free transportation from City Hall
- Instruction in Leadership, Career Readiness and Civic Engagement; and
- A full experience of camp food, hikes, bond fires, story telling and making new friends.
2021 camps were a complete success. 408 youth have attended 17 1-day or 3-day camps at the reborn Camp Fresno. Campers aged 8 – 17 (average age 12 years old) participated in camps specifically geared to grow their civic engagement, leadership, career readiness and appreciation of the outdoors. Per post camp youth surveys:
- 91% of youth survey respondents have said their experience at camp Fresno has improved their mental health.
- 99% have shared that they have made new friends.
For a full overview of the 2021 Camp Fresno report click below