Press Release

State of Florida
Department of Children and Families
Charlie Crist

George H. Sheldon

May 20, 2010
Contact: DCF Communications

Siblings Separated by Foster Care Will Camp Out Together
Third Annual 'Camp Sib' Sponsored by DCF Helps Brothers and Sisters Bond

Tallahassee, Fla. – Brothers and sisters separated by foster care are coming to Camp Sib this weekend for a special family reunion. The boys and girls attending Camp Sib will have four days together to hike, swim, canoe and gaze at the stars. Best of all, they will be building memories with their siblings.

Camp Sib, sponsored by the Florida Department of Children and Families, is being held for the third consecutive year at Camp La-No-Che in Lake County, thanks to a partnership with the Central Florida Council of Boy Scouts of America Camps. About 100 children in foster care, ages 6 to 17, will come from around the state to camp out from May 21 through May 24. They will share fun and strengthen the bonds between brothers and sisters that last a lifetime.

"Children separated in foster care may see their brothers and sisters only once a month, but at Camp Sib, they have four days to have fun and create memories together," DCF Secretary George Sheldon said. "Kids who attend Camp Sib tell us it is the best time they have ever had. They experience things with their brothers and sisters they’ve never done before, from cheering on each other as they climb the rock wall to taking pictures of an armadillo ambling through camp."

Four of the original creators of Camp Sib in summer 2008 will be back at the camp this year. Julie DeMar, Children’s Home Society program director in Palm Beach County; Melia Flores, DCF child protective investigations administrator in Gadsden, Liberty, Wakulla and Franklin counties; Jancy Long, program operations administrator with Community Partnership for Children of Flagler, Putnam and Volusia counties; and Katie Banton, child protection team counselor with the Orange County Children’s Advocacy Center, will be volunteering and guiding campers through an exciting, and often emotional, experience.

"Everything they do, they do together. They’re so excited to be together. We get to see mostly laughter. Most of the time, the camp is full of smiles. Sometimes they’ll say they don’t want to go home," DeMar said.

Camp Sib was created by participants in the 2008 class of the Department’s Child Welfare Leadership Program. It won a Davis Productivity Award in 2009. This year, 34 volunteers from DCF, community-based care agencies and other partner agencies will help run the camp.

To read more on this story visit the Orlando Sentinal News Article