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Santa Maria Sun / School Scene

The following article was posted on June 17th, 2014, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 15, Issue 15 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [santamariasun.com] - Volume 15, Issue 15

Angel Tree takes children of prisoners to summer camp

BY CAMILLIA LANHAM


FEEDING TIME
Caspar, 9, recently fed a baby goat at Calicinto Ranch. Angel Tree Camp takes children of prisoners to the ranch as part of a summer camp program through Prison Fellowship International.
PHOTO COURTESY OF KATHY HOLST

For the last 10 years, Kathy Holst has taken children from the Santa Maria Valley to summer camp at Calicinto Ranch in San Jacinto. The kids she brings along on the annual trip all have parents in prison.

Through Prison Fellowship International, Angel Tree Camp is a program that takes the children of prisoners to summer camps around the United States. Holst started a Santa Maria branch of the camp program in 2005 with five children.

Every year, she’s been able to add a couple more kids to the Angel Tree Camp list and this year, 35 children are horseback riding, swimming, feeding goats, and being mentored by 17 volunteers in San Jacinto. Camp attendees range from 7 to 11 years old.

Holst said the camp really focuses on the needs of the children—to help them see that there is a different, better path in life.

“The kids need to know that they’re loved by others. … I just feel it’s a calling,” Holst said. “You just feel like there’s a purpose in life that you just fit with.”

Donations made via First Christian Church help pay for the trip each year. She said it costs about $250 to send each child to camp, and this year’s total cost is around $15,000. Although not all the money is raised for this year’s trip—June 16 through 20—Holst said she’s confident the funds will come in.

To donate, checks made payable to First Christian with Angel Tree Camp written in the memo portion can be sent to 1550 S. College Drive, Santa Maria, 93454.