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Camp St. Vincent - Baltimore’s only Summer Camp for Homeless Children

Camp St Vincent

History of Camp St Vincent

undated photo of children en route to camp

undated photo of children en route to camp

Did you know that one of Baltimore’s longest-running traditions is a summer camp for children?
 
Camp St. Vincent has been in continuous operation since 1907, when it was founded at the Cloud Cap country estate in Paradise - near Catonsville, MD. It was an age of  growing awareness about the effects on children of living in poverty in hot, noisy polluted cities. St. Vincent de Paul was one a handful of pioneers across the US to to create “fresh air camps.”  A 1907 story from the Baltimore Sun describes the camp through the lens of Edwardian ideals:

. . .  children are given an oportunity to enjoy a two weeks' stay in the country, where healthful food and a big roomy house and all of the playthings that make life worth living for both boys and girls make those 14 days a time never to be forgotten by the children.

In the intervening years, Camp St. Vincent has had several homes, and evolved through many iterations. The one constant has been an emphasis on providing  a healthy summer camp experience to underprivileged children.

Camp St. Vincent Today

While Camp St. Vincent has always sought to serve lower-income children,  in 2004, the camp program was redesigned to fill a void in summer services for homeless children. Working with the school systems for both Baltimore City and Baltimore County, St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore developed a structure that exclusively focuses on the unique needs of homeless children - and we are currently the only Baltimore-area camp that serves only homeless children.

The Affordable Housing crisis has set an increasing number of families with children among the ranks of the homeless.

a child reads during summer camp

A camper during reading time

In 2008, Camp St. Vincent moved to its current home in Patterson Park, a 137-acre jewel nicknamed, "Best Backyard in Baltimore." Throughout the summer, an average of  250 homeless children -- ages 5 to 14  --from shelters and transitional housing programs in Baltimore City and Baltimore County spend their days with camp fun.

The camp curriculum helps homeless children develop coping and social skills that lessen the impact of being homeless.  And since all of the children at Camp St. Vincent are homeless, they begin to understand they are not alone, and develop relationships with other campers who share their experience.

Camp also provides daily breakfast, lunch and snacks as well as any clothing a child may need to participate in camp - such as tennis shoes, bathing suits, shorts, and socks.

Days at Camp St. Vincent include including swimming, sports, art and dance. There are field trips to local spots such as the Baltimore Museum of Industry and the American Visionary Art Museum, the Naval Academy, and bowling and rollerskating. Perhaps most importantly, campers also receive academic enrichment in math and reading to reduce the summer learning loss that is so profound for homeless children.

Help Support Camp St. Vincent

Give Online

  • $44 sponsors a  child for a day of camp
  • $75 provides swimsuits and towels for 3 children
  • $125 provides one day of snacks for all campers
  • $220 sponsors a child for 1 week of camp

Or give whatever you can.

Donate to Camp St. Vicent Baltimore

 

 

Mail a Check

Checks can be made payable to: St. Vincent de Paul of Baltimore, and sent to: 2305 N. Charles Street, Suite 300, Baltimore, MD 21218.