SANTA YNEZ VALLEY, Calif. - A local outdoor ranch camp invites hundreds of kids to their site every year and many children are able to attend thanks to "camperships" or scholarships.
Circle V is a 6 day overnight ranch camp and kids come from all over southern California to experience the great outdoors.
Camp director Ray Lopez said, "We have activities such as the pool, hiking, arts and crafts, drumming and dance. It gives kids a chance to get out of their environment at home and get into the great outdoors without electronics, television, and video games. It's a great program."
To send one child to Circle V for 6 days and 5nights costs $425.
Over 1,200 kids attend camp over the summer and 95 percent come on partial or full scholarships and those are sponsored with donations.
"We try and keep the costs reasonable, but it's expensive for a family who might not be able to afford the costs. We want to make sure at Circle V that all campers get the chance to experience the awe and wonder of camp," explained Lopez.
Campers like Lupita Santos, who is attending camp for the third year, enjoy the week because of all the activities.
"I like coming to camp each year because we get to do stuff in the craft shack like art activities, coloring, and making bracelets," explained Santos.
Camp is also important for personal growth and making new friends.
Santos said, "I feel like I gain new friends. You get to build a relationship and get to know them a little better."
Fourth-year camper Sydney Lester agreed, "I think we learn better friendship, because especially when you are in a tent it's a really small area and you learn to be able to live together and you learn how to have fun."
Saint Vincent de Paul conferences help raise money for camperships and to gather other items that kids can take home with them.
Lopez said,"Sometimes campers don't have a sleeping bag, and we want to make sure that they can not only have one at camp, but that they can take it home with them."
From archery and swimming to making new friends, Circle V camp helps kids become more independent while sleeping under the stars.
The program is full for this summer, but sign ups for next summer start in January.
For more information: http://www.circlevranchcamp.org