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The Paivika Buddies Campership Campaign

Since 1947, Camp Paivika has offered summertime recreation-such as swimming, horseback riding, arts, crafts and nature studies-to children and adults with mild to severe disabilities. At this very moment, Camp Paivika is bustling with activity, as campers and staff enjoy the 2014 summer season. This is the camp's 68th year as one of Southern California's most valued facilities for persons with disabilities.

Camp Paivika has always operated as a public-private partnership. Just as an example, the U.S. Forest Service contributed the magnificent property on which the camp was built. But from the beginning, private contributions of all sizes have played a key roll in making Paivika what it is. Foundations and businesses have generously supported the camp's programs, but much of what sustains Camp Paivika comes in the form of small checks, written by individuals. In the early days, private contributions were enough to ensure that camp was free to everyone who wanted to attend. But, as camp operations became more expensive over time, the State of California began to fill the gap. In 2009, that state support came to an abrupt end, and Camp Paivika was forced to begin charging a fee for attendance.

AbilityFirst (formerly the Crippled Children's Society of Southern California), is working hard to return camp to a no-fee operation. However, until that can be accomplished, "camperships" are critical. Camperships provide grants in various amounts, depending on a camper's need. The goal of camperships is to ensure that no camper has to stay home because of lack of funds.

In 2009 and AbilityFirst launched an annual effort to raise private donations from camp alumni to support the campership effort. The Paivika Buddies Campership Campaign is led by a group of former campers and staff who have come to be called the "Paivika Champions." Since first launched in 2009, the Paivika Buddies Campership Campaign has raised $221,776.69. Of that, every cent has been spent on camperships, or has already been set aside for next year. If a camper's family is unable to pay the fee, then the campership fund provides a grant, based on the amount of need. In the 2014 camping season alone, $85,870 was expended on camperships, about half of which came from the Paivika Buddies Campership Campaign.

Numbers don't begin to say it all. Just look at this excerpt from the letter we received from a camper's family in 2013:
"Thank you, thank you, thank you! We can't seem to put into words how much this trip did for our little family. Michael still talks about his time at camp…. For my husband and me it was a much needed time for us to have together. For 17 years we have never been away from [our son] more than 24 hours at a time…. Thank you for giving us this wonderful experience."
If you are contacted by one of your fellow camp alumni, with a request for a contribution, we hope you will contribute to the extent of your ability. No gift is too small! For those who have already contributed, thank you! is a social website, and has no security measures in place. Information dispatched from our site over the Internet may be detected by others. For that reason, please do not send credit card numbers to us on the web site. AbilityFirst provides a secure web site for contributions to the Paivika Buddies Campership Campaign. You will find easy links to AbilityFirst's web site located on the home page and the Camp Director's page. Or, go to and click on the "Make a Donation" tab. When you get to the donation page, be sure to fill out the form completely and check the block marked "I would like to make a donation toward camperships". Debit and credit cards are accepted. Another great way to contribute is to make your check payable to AbilityFirst, and mail it to:

AbilityFirst Camp Paivika
Attention: Ms. Juliana Otis
Corporate & Foundation Giving Manager
1300 E. Green Street
Pasadena, CA 91106

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