In the aftermath of the Lahaina wildfire, some Maui parents are facing an immense challenge dealing with rebuilding their lives, coping with the sudden change, and trying to explain it all to their kids. But for a couple of weeks, the parents are getting a little help. Project:Camp, a nonprofit that organizes pop-up camps to support children, parents and communities after disasters, has set up shop in Maui.
The day camp being held at the Maui YMCA goes from 9am to 3pm, is open to kids ages six to 16 years old, and is totally free. Kids get a chance to play, eat, and enjoy a few hours of normalcy. Local volunteer Raven Hart emphasizes the importance of positive experiences like the camp provides during difficult times, calling it “the best way” to get through a traumatic experience. Parents who are first responders are also welcome to come unwind at the camp.
Project:Camp cofounder Ozzie Baron describes their camp as a way to instill resilience in communities under extreme stress. He and cofounder Mikey Latner have decades of experience in working with campers and want to provide the sense of belonging that camps bring to kids who are in the most need. And they do their best to focus on the good. “Some are grateful they have their pets. Some are thankful that they are still together with their friends,” he says, adding that optimism is “deeply helpful for these kids.”