Youth Organizations in Fort Worth, TX
Youth development goes far beyond school walls in Fort Worth, where families have several excellent organizations dedicated to providing young people with the guidance they need to become strong, educated leaders of tomorrow.
A Tradition of Camping
The area's oldest youth development organization, Camp Fire First Texas, celebrates its 100th anniversary in 2014, a mark of its long, stable relationship with the community and its youth. Camp Fire's programs begin at six weeks of age, allowing for development that grows and changes to meet the needs of youth at any age or stage, says Christy Jones, vice president of marketing and communications for Camp Fire First Texas.
The organization offers several summer day camps and its overnight camp - Camp Fire Camp El Tesoro, as well as after-school programs at Diamond Hill Station and at select Fort Worth and Aledo schools, school readiness programs, outdoor education and an award-winning grief camp, El Tesoro de la Vida, for children who have experienced losses.
"Our primary benefit is helping youth find their spark by providing safe, interactive and engaging programs that offer a variety of experiences," Jones says.
The organization also enables others to continue that effort, with several professional development training programs for child care workers in the area.
Outdoor Education for All
Similarly, Camp Carter, an outdoor education program of the Fort Worth YMCA, offers camping experiences for young people, which include horseback riding, archery, canoeing, swimming, hiking and campfires. In addition to serving YMCA member families, Camp Carter partners with Fort Worth Independent School District to expose all fifth-grade students to outdoor learning, says Hope Caldwell, director of marketing for the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth.
To make camping experiences available to children with special needs, Camp Carter partners with organizations such as Lighthouse for the Blind, the Cook Children's Hospital and the Arlington Texas Mayor's Youth Council.
Empowering Fort Worth Girls
Several programs in the Fort Worth area are specifically geared to guiding young girls. For instance, the Girl Scouts of Texas Oklahoma Plains operates camping experiences at Camp Kiwanis and Stevens Ranch. The local Girl Scouts chapter also partners with Fort Worth businesses and organizations to offer Summer Extreme, a program that provides summer activities such as babysitting classes, ceramics, self-defense, dog training, dance classes and yoga.
Girls Inc. also offers programs to benefit girls in the Fort Worth area.
"Many of the girls we serve are looking for a mentor to help guide them in the right direction," says Carroll Burney, director of marketing for Girls Inc. of Tarrant County. "Girls Inc. provides that and so much more."
For instance, Girl Power! provides a safe place in an all-girl environment to talk about sensitive topics. Girls Beyond Bullying partners with school districts throughout Tarrant County to address the problem of bullying and empower girls with the tools to handle bullies and the skills to manage relationships without being bullies themselves. Operation SMART (Science, Math and Relevant Technology) is designed to increase girls' interest in science, math and technology and offers camps where girls learn to program a robot, learn about coding or create and edit video.
Helping Children and Families
For families and children at risk, Santa Fe Youth Services offers substance abuse prevention, intervention and counseling services. These services are offered in schools, churches, community centers and homes and, because they are funded through grants and donations, they are always free of charge.
Find out more on the Fort Worth, TX community.