Scattergood Foundation

Advancing Innovative Strategies for Change in Behavioral Health

The Moyer Foundation

Name of Innovative Program: 
Camp Mariposa
Sponsoring Organization
The Moyer Foundation
Name of Innovative Program Lead: 
Brian Maus
E-mail Address of Innovative Program Lead:
Project Description: 
Camp Mariposa is a free weekend overnight camp program that supports children ages 9-12 who have been impacted by substance abuse in their families.   The primary goal is to give children with a family history of addiction the knowledge, tools and coping skills to prevent them from developing an addiction of their own and to help break the intergenerational cycle of addiction.  Camps are held 6 times a year and children are encouraged to attend multiple times.  Camp Mariposa currently offers 36 weekend camps at 6 locations around the country including Los Angeles and San Diego, California; Sarasota, Florida; South Bend, Indiana; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Seattle, Washington. Camp Mariposa was designed in consultation with Claudia Black, an internationally recognized expert on addictions and its impact on family systems.  Camp Mariposa offers traditional camp activities such as swimming and camp fires that are enhanced with therapeutic elements designed to teach children a variety of problem-solving and self-care strategies.  Low-ropes and challenge courses are designed to increase the children’s self-esteem and build team work as they solve problems.  Structured educational components teach children about the physical and mental effects of drugs and alcohol, as well as their own predisposition to addiction.   
Creativity and Innovation: 
Camp Mariposa is a year-round weekend camp program where kids can experience traditional camp activities while also receiving support and education about addiction.  By design, kids are encouraged to attend multiple times so that the educational information and self-care strategies are reinforced over a period of months or years.  Children are also able to form relationships with other campers who understand what they are going through at home.   Camp Mariposa is also intentionally designed for children to attend by themselves.  This allows us to reach kids who do not have a parent/caretaker who can attend each weekend session.  Finally, Camp Mariposa is free to all campers, more than 80% of whom come from low-income backgrounds.  This allows us to serve more children who lack the resources to pay a nominal amount.  Taken together, these programmatic designs make Camp Mariposa a unique program for kids with a family history of addiction.
World Series Champion Pitcher, Jamie Moyer, and his wife Karen created Camp Mariposa after a personal experience with a young relative who was impacted by family addiction. After much research, they discovered that very few programs existed to help young children.  In 2007, TMF established the first Camp Mariposa in Washington State. As co-founders, Karen and Jamie Moyer are committed to the growth and sustainability of Camp Mariposa.   TMF has assembled an Advisory Committee of national and local experts on addiction and children, including Claudia Black, who meet quarterly to guide the development of Camp Mariposa.   The Moyers and the entire TMF staff continually reach out to individuals, corporations, foundations and other non-profit groups that share an interest in serving children impacted by family addiction.   Camp Mariposa will open its seventh location later this year and is expected to serve 1,000 campers throughout all of the locations during 2014. 
TMF partners with community-based, accredited mental health, substance abuse and youth serving organizations to deliver its Camp Mariposa program.  TMF provides an initial 3 years of step-down funding to help establish Camp Mariposa.  TMF staff works with all of its Camp Mariposa partners to identify ways to both raise funds and awareness for the local Camp Mariposa program.  Over the past 7 years, the Camp Mariposa network has grown from 1 location to 6 locations across the country.Nationally, TMF continually seeks funding from private foundations, corporations, government agencies and individuals to help grow the Camp Mariposa network.  In addition, TMF builds relationships with national organizations such as Reclaiming Futures whose mission is to address the needs of teens that get in trouble, often due to their substance abuse issues.  Building strong relationships with both funders and providers is essential to sustaining and growing the Camp Mariposa network.   
Camp Mariposa has demonstrated over the past 7 years that its model can be easily replicated in communities across the country.  TMF has begun incorporating new research about effective prevention programs into the Camp Mariposa model.  Specifically, we are incorporating research that suggests effective prevention programs use a multi-faceted approach; teach kids about stress reduction with practices such as mindfulness and yoga; and focus on involving family, community and schools in its programming.   The emphasis on a multi-faceted approach is seen in Camp Mariposa’s newest partner, Shields for Families which was the first program in the country to allow women to enter treatment with their children.  We are excited because Shields already offers a broad continuum of services to families struggling with addiction in South Central Los Angeles.  TMF plans to open its seventh Camp Mariposa location in Washington, DC later this year.
Pre and post tests are administered at each camp weekend.  A recent review of Camp Mariposa Pennsylvania showed that 100% of children who attended at least 5 sessions showed an increase in knowledge.  The average increase from the first session to the fifth session was 69%.  In addition, 88% of children who attended five sessions showed an increased base of knowledge about addictions that was sustained over the course of eight months.  Finally, 100% of campers who attended 3 sessions could identify 3 resources for support in their daily lives.In addition to these evaluative measures, TMF has partnered with Penn State University and the University of Washington to conduct a pilot research project which will focus on the impact of the Camp Mariposa program at the Indiana location.  TMF is seeking funding to conduct a larger research project on the entire Camp Mariposa network in 2015.