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Camp Lisa's Mission

The mission of The CAMP LISA Foundation is to make it possible for kids, who wouldn’t normally have the opportunity, to go to summer camp. At camp, these kids are able to sing songs, play sports, make snacks, make friends, do arts and crafts, all the while learning about community, sharing, empathy, and having fun. The Camp Lisa Foundation aims to enrich the lives of children through the summer camp experience. We strive to create a greater public understanding of and support for the value of the summer camp experience and also to increase the number of children, youth, and adults of all social, cultural, and economic groups that will have a summer camp experience.

How We Send Kids to Camp

Camp Lisa works with SCOPE (Summer Camp Opportunities Promote Education), a well-established organization who shares our mission and can help to make it a reality. SCOPE takes funds raised by Camp Lisa and other supporters and allocates them to participating summer camps around the United States to provide camp scholarships to kids who otherwise would not have the opportunity for a summer camp experience. We raise funds for SCOPE by accepting donations as well as donating proceeds from the Camp Lisa CD, a kids record of camp-themed songs. 

Lisa on Summer Camp

People ask me why I made the "Camp Lisa" record.

"Camp Lisa" is basically as close as I can get to a time machine. This music takes me back to my pre-teen years, which are probably more similar to even younger kids’ lives today. I wanted to remember some traditional songs and write some new camp-themed songs that could take you from leaving home, through your camp days, to saying goodbye until the next time. In the recording process with my songwriter/musician friends, Michelle Lewis and Dan Petty, the music made me realize that I’d love to share the camp experience with kids who might not normally have the opportunity to go to summer camp, and in this first year, we found A portion of the proceeds of the album sales go to the Foundation.

Photo by  Justine Ungaro

Summer camp was a huge part of my childhood, something I looked forward to, and a relief from the very demanding 11 years of all-girls school: carrying tons of books in my back pack, studying for hours, finishing homework assignments, writing essays, reading books, and memorizing dates in preparation for exams. Of course, traditional education was a highly valued part of my upbringing, but I’ve come to realize that summer camp had a tremendous positive impact on my life and career as well.

Summer camp taught me to try new things, explore, make friends, learn how to be a leader, and also part of a community. I learned arts and skills and sports, and although it wasn’t always easy, I always rose to the challenge: camp brings that out of a person. Some of my favorite experiences came from my summers spent at St. Marks Day Camp, Camp Chai, and Tennis camp at The Hockaday School, all in Dallas and then later at Camp Champions, a sleepaway camp just outside of Austin in Marble Falls, TX. I made new friends (and kept the old), slurped jello, actually almost enjoyed playing soccer, made lanyard bracelets, and swam a mile.

Being away from home, I felt independent, but also part of a tight community with our own traditions like receiving “champs” for good behavior and “zanes” for misbehaving, responding loudly to our cool counselors with “yes ma'am!” or “no sir!” to show respect, and although these weren’t art and music camps, per se, music was the central focus, lacing the day together. We sang at breakfast over pancakes, during free swim floating in inner tubes, walking through the boys camp on the way to lunch, with mouths full of chimichangas and tater tots, with other campers around the camp fire, at night before “lights out,” and from bunk to flag pole to the lake and back. I even learned “Stairway to Heaven” on guitar from my friend Alma Doll. I wanted to share this with people who’ll remember it too, and to folks who haven’t had the luxury of a great singalong.

The dark and whimsical drawings for the album were done by a 15 year old artist from California, named Esme, who also loves summer camp. Note: coincidentally, Esme is the name of a main character in one of JD Salinger’s collection, Nine Stories, the namesake of my band!