Burlington County’s first-ever day camp for children impacted by substance use disorder was a resounding success.
Twenty children participated in Camp Cardinal, which was held on Aug. 26 at the YMCA of the Pines. The program featured traditional camping activities such as shelter building, archery, canoeing, crafts and a ropes course. The Children also participated in special group sessions focused on building resiliency to stress, anxiety, depression and other mental illnesses.
Staff from the Burlington County Department of Human Services, YMCA of the Pines and the Traumatic Loss Coalition program ran the camp program.
The name Camp Cardinal was selected because cardinals are said to appear when angels are near and are often associated with loved ones who have passed away. They are considered messengers of love and comfort.
“Burlington County is proud to be a leader in eliminating stigma surrounding substance use disorder and other mental illnesses and we continue to offer support to individuals and families impacted by those challenges,” said Burlington County Commissioner Felicia Hopson, the liaison to the Department of Human Services. “Camp Cardinal is part of our comprehensive response and can help address the intergenerational cycle of addiction. The feedback we’ve received has been great and we’re looking forward to growing the program in future years.”
The County Commissioners passed a resolution in 2021 declaring all of Burlington County to be stigma-free. By eliminating stigma, the Commissioners hope to raise awareness and encourage more residents to seek the help and support needed to overcome their conditions.
Twenty-seven Burlington County municipalities and 24 school districts have passed their own resolutions expressing support for the County’s stigma-free campaign.