Family Camp Opportunities
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Camp Anytown is a unique camp that specifically encourages a diverse group of Oklahoma teens to apply and attend each year. The camp is sponsored by the Oklahoma Center for Community and Justice (OCCJ).
“Camp Anytown is a leadership experience for high school students, focused on diversity and inclusion” said Moises Echeverria, program coordinator, “where citizenship, communication skills, cultural awareness and racial understanding are enhanced.”
Camp Anytown is held at Dwight Mission Camp in Vian, Oklahoma. Incoming high school sophomores, juniors and seniors may apply to attend.
While Camp Anytown could be held in an urban setting, being outdoors enhances the students’ experience. “Being away and secluded from the everyday environment of the city is an integral part of their camp experience,” Echeverria said. “Cellphones and most electronics are discouraged from being used at camp. Having students away from their electronics encourages face-to-face interactions in a peaceful and quiet setting. This allows students to be more in tune with their emotions, and to really learn about themselves and each other. It is powerful to see friendships develop in this setting which would never develop in the student’s usual setting.”
By bringing young people of differing cultures, religions and races together to talk, play and interact, OCCJ hopes to instill understanding, respect and openness in Anytown participants, who will, in turn, become role models and leaders in their school communities and beyond.
“Anytown is an extremely interactive and engaging experience, where students are involved in discussion groups, workshops, presentations, culture night talent night, campfires, singing and recreational activities,” Echeverria said. “All of the activities promote introspection and at the same time highlight the necessity to value and understand others.”
Follow-up gatherings show the lasting impact the natural setting has on Camp Anytown students. “The participants often describe camp as a utopia,” Echeverria said, “a place where everyone felt safe to be themselves. They often talk about being outside with their discussion groups, or reminiscing about our conversations around the campfire. Those memories of being at a Camp Anytown, growing together and learning about each other are held dearly by those who have participated over the past 20 years.”