Core Beliefs

We Believe All Youth Deserve Access to Nature, Wonder and Exploration

At Camp Phoenix, we believe all teens deserve access to nature. While we focus on achievement, leadership and community, the outdoors is the catalyst for magic to happen between these goals.

Nature uniquely allows young people to be vulnerable, self-reflect and connect with others in ways they aren’t able to in classrooms. We’ve seen kids who “never really talked to each other” at school share deeply personal struggles around the campfire and then tearfully hug each other in solidarity.

In these moments, campers understand the power of community and their individual power within it to affect change.

We Believe Youth Should Gain, Not Lose, Learning in the Summer

Research shows that while kids from the flatlands and kids from the hills learn at the same rate during the school year, kids from the flatlands lose two months of learning on average each summer because of disparities in resources.

During the summer, parents from the hills have greater resources to take their children on vacations, spend more on extracurriculars and have greater access to nature—experiences that allow their kids to develop leadership skills and have fun while learning.

By the ninth grade, two-thirds of the achievement gap can be attributed to inequitable summer opportunities.

We Are Committed to Social Justice

We recognize that power and privilege impacts every aspect of our lives. That’s why we strive to have a critical conscious lens in all of our actions.

It is our vision to be an organization that reflects the world we wish to live in: one that mirrors diversity, catalyzes change from within and gives radical joy and love to our community and ourselves. 

We Believe in Community-Centered Change

We see Camp Phoenix’s vision coming alive when our campers one day take our jobs. Our campers are powerful leaders in their own right before joining the Phoenix Phamily, and we fully expect them to take the reins of leadership one day, as high school Counselors-in-Training and eventually counselors, camp directors and executive directors.

Our cofounders and leadership team are stewards of our organization until this occurs, and we are intentional about creating leadership opportunities for this to become a reality.