The Sunshine Camp Programs
Established in 1928 by the Young Men’s Business League of Austin (YMBL), the Austin Sunshine Camps (ASC) provides enrichment opportunities for low-income boys and girls of Central Texas for over eighty years. ASC staff and YMBL members work with the children during their signature summer camp programs and year-round academic programs to help develop the tools necessary to overcome the variety of difficulties they face in their day-to-day lives.
Our name sake program- the summer camps began more than 80 years ago. We serve youth ages 7-15 through two summer camps. One, located in the heart of Zilker Park serves youth 7-11. Click here to learn more and click here to apply!
Our second summer camp location is located on Lake Travis in Lago Vista. At that facility, 12-15 year olds enjoy the outdoors in a beautiful and serene environment. Click here to learn more and click here to apply.
In addition to the summer camp programs, Austin Sunshine Camps has two, year round academic programs to work with youth throughout the school year. Those programs are called The Sunrise Challenge and Leadership Programs. They work with youth in grades 6-12 to guide them through middle and high school to increase their graduation ability to succeed in "the real world.
All of our programs encourage those we serve to see a world beyond the walls of their current situation. We encourage youth to stive for something bigger and to teach them that they are capable of great things.
The Sunrise Leadership Program
In 2013, this program is serving 35 high school low-income students with the primary goal of reducing the high school dropout rate.The four-year program consists of workshops and course-based tutorials as well as college prep, college visits, community service opportunities and weekend retreats. Participants meet weekly during the academic school year. Within each weekly session students are tutored in core subjects such as math, science, English and history. They also work on learning and developing study skills, test-taking strategies, and short- and long-term goal setting including preparing for college (SAT, college visits, FASFA, Essays, etc.) and career planning. There are also full weekend retreats, boy’s nights and girl’s nights, community service opportunities along with cultural activities that also happen during the month. Participation in this program is intense and requires quite a committment on the students part. We believe this commitment is key to the students success in our programs and in their later success!
The Sunrise Challenge Program
This program is for 30-40 middle school students and is centered around service learning projects. Service learning is a teaching and learning strategy that integrates meaningful community service with instruction and reflection to enrich the learning experience, teach civic responsibility and strengthen communities. Through service learning, students use what they learn in the classroom to solve real-life problems. They not only learn the practical applications of their studies, they become actively contribuiting citizens and community members through the services that they preform. Each September, students form groups and establish their service learning project idea and yearlong goals. Groups then meet once per month to work on execution of the project. An important aspect of service learning is documentation for the purpose of reflection. As students meet throughout the year and work on the project, they are also tasked with documenting their process and progress so they can reflect at the end of the year. Additionally students meet throughout the year for life skills retreats to further integrate learning. This year, the students have chosen collecting donations and making dog beds for local animal shelter as their project. We are excited to see what they are able to accomplish!
- 80% direct benefit ratio
- Cost per summer camper: $422; Cost per participant in the Sunrise Leadership and Challenge programs: $2,500
- 67% of youth served come from households with annual incomes less than $22,050 (Federal Poverty Level); 29% are just above the poverty level
- 44 percent of children participating are from families enrolled in the state’s Food Stamp Program
- A near-equal number of boys and girls enjoy Austin YMBL Sunshine Camps’ programs each year
- 38% are African American, and 46% are of Latino/Hispanic ethnicity
- 67% of the children in our programs are from single parent homes or in foster care.
- ASC has served more than 47,000 disadvantaged youth since we were founded in 1928
- Our summer camp is the only camp in Central Texas that offers services FREE of charge to participants
- Each year, 850 Central Texas youth are served in all our programs
- Since 2001, all Leadership participants (in our year-around program) have earned a high school diploma
- Our Leadership and Challenge students participate in more than 1,000 hours of community service each school year
- Math grades have increased from 75 to 81
- More than ½ of our leadership students are enrolled in AP classes