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August 29, 2013

Guest Post: Tataya Mato offers support for kids with HIV/AIDS

This week we have another wonderful guest post from our friends as Jameson Camp, who dedicate an entire session of summer camp to kids living with HIV and AIDS. How awesome is that? We think they're rockin' it with Tataya Mato, and we're betting you will too. Enjoy!

Did you know that Jameson Camp, located on Indy's West side, offers a special camp session for children affected by HIV/AIDS? This free 8-day/7-night session of camp is called Tataya Mato and serves youth ages 7-17. Children attending this session of camp either have the disease or have a close family member who does. This is the only camp program in Indiana that serves children impacted by HIV/AIDS.

Tataya Mato offers a unique combination of a traditional eight-day overnight summer camping experience combined with a program of personal growth and support of the child’s family and caregiver. Tataya Mato campers partake in traditional camp activities including archery, rock climbing, creek stomping, culinary arts, journalism, and art expressions. Older campers have the opportunity to go on multi-day camping and backpacking trips in Indiana and out of state. While at camp, youth gain in self-confidence and social skills, and learn to respect themselves, others, and the environment. They are also immersed in a supportive and fun environment with children who are facing similar challenges and obstacles related to living with or knowing someone with HIV/AIDS.

The Jameson staff work with various community partners throughout Indiana, Kentucky, and Ohio to recruit children for the Tataya Mato session. Free transportation is provided to each child who attends this session of camp and Jameson Camp waives camper fees for children attending Tataya Mato. It costs Jameson Camp roughly $45,000 each year to operate Tataya Mato, so we depend on the generous support of individuals, foundations, and corporations to help cover the costs of this specialized camp. It is our belief that every child should have the opportunity to experience the excitement and culture of summer camp. We provide our campers the opportunity to make lifelong memories while gaining important life skills.

Jameson Camp is grateful for its partnership with Roche Diagnostics and the Indiana AIDS Fund, who have been strong supporters of Tataya Mato over the years. If you are interested in supporting HIV/AIDS programs like Jameson Camp and The Damien Center, we encourage you to participate in the Indiana AIDS Walk on Saturday, September 28th! Join The Damien Center’s team and help raise money to fight HIV and AIDS right here in our community. Can't attend the event? Make a secure online donation or help us spread the word!