Rural Alaska Program at Camp Fire Alaska
Since 1965, over 220,000 AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program have joined the fight against poverty by helping local organizations expand their capacity to make change. The VISTA program serves in each of the 50 U.S. states and in all U.S. territories.
Through capacity building activities such as fundraising, grant writing, research, and volunteer recruitment AmeriCorps members in the VISTA program serve in an office setting and gain experience and leadership skills. This opportunity prepares members for a life of service in the public, private, or nonprofit sector.
The Rural Alaska Program has brought summer camp experiences to rural communities since 1964. From the beginnings of offering summer camp experiences to rural communities across Alaska, the program now partners with local tribal councils and regional partners to build cultural activities consistent with local values and fostering interconnectedness between youth and Elders in each community through the sharing of community knowledge. Moreover, the program works to support food security through administering federal food programs, Elder care packages and youth led traditional food and cooking activities delivered to Elders. The purpose of the rural program is to provide activities that reflect the needs of the communities that we serve. We are there to build assets and leadership skills in youth so that they can recognize their full potential and appreciate their individual value and contribution to their community. This program includes exposure to the natural world, sports and games, creative arts, community events, and healthy life choices with an emphasis on the importance of holistic wellness, cultural identify and the reduction of high risk-behaviors. Typically, a program runs for two to four weeks and is facilitated by a team of two or three staff with local hires.