- Lisa Tanzman
2011 Message from the Founder
Celebrating 25 years of camping!
I just returned from the 1st camp session of our 25th year and it was amazing. We reunited three siblings who have not lived together since they were 3, 4 & 6 years old. They are now 15, 16 & 18. We took a ferry from San Pedro to Two Harbors on Catalina Island. The only counselors were me and a former camper, who first attended CAMP ERUTAN when he was 4 years old in 1989.
Heading to Two Harbors the Captain invited us into the cockpit where we were given a navigation lesson and everyone had the opportunity to steer the ferry while dolphins jumped ahead of us. If that was the only bit of magic the trip would have been great, only it continued getting better moment by moment.
Prior to camp, the CASA (Court Appointed Special Advocate) volunteer for these kids asked me if I would consider allowing the 3 siblings to attend a week of camp. I decided they should have their own family vacation. I didn’t find out until our camping trip that there are actually 8 siblings – same mother different fathers, neither a part of their lives.
One sibling knew the names of all 8 siblings. One sibling only cared about the 2 he was with on our trip. One sibling considered his foster family his family and cared deeply for his 2 biological siblings he was hanging out with for the week.
We camped above Isthmus Cove, had campfires, swam, hiked, rode mountain bikes, kayaked, skipped stones, laughed, sang, danced, told stories, talked about love, life, respect and ate ice cream everyday. Smiles and giggles were contagious.
I was reminded that unless you are taught something you just don’t know, such as: touching stray dogs, violence does not equal love, look someone in the eyes when you speak, saying please and thank you, respecting yourself. All of these things came up during our time together and we discussed the importance of understanding how and why Awareness, Balance and Choice (our camp philosophy) help in our decision making process.
Saying goodbye at the end of the week is always hard for me. For these kids it is something they are used to.
The amount of money we raise will dictate the number of camp sessions we have this year. Of equal or greater importance is raising the big bucks so we can set up our first ERUTAN Community so siblings do not have to be separated in the foster care system. I want to offer these kids a chance to start their lives fresh, not just give them a week. In order to turn this dream into reality I need help fund raising. Any suggestions?
Thank you very much for your continued support on so many levels. With love, appreciation and gratitude I wish you and your family a happy and healthy summer.
Lisa Tanzman Founder & Director