Camp Fire’s Rural Alaska Program started more than 50 years ago as a response to Alaska’s massive 1964 earthquake that devastated the town of Seward in Southcentral Alaska. With the support of the national Camp Fire Friendship Fund, volunteers and supplies were sent to Seward to deliver youth programming so parents could devote their full energy to cleanup and reconstruction.
Following this initial outreach, the program expanded in the years following to address the high rate of drowning in Alaska communities by offering swimming lessons and teaching cold water safety.
Today, the Rural Alaska Program has grown to include more than 30 communities and nearly 2,000 participants as we work to promote healthy life skills, creative arts, outdoor recreation, activities for teens, service projects and community events, in addition to our core programs that teach swimming and water safety.
Rural Alaska Program staff come from all over Alaska, across the United States and the world—adding a valuable cultural exchange experience as they work to make a difference in Alaska’s rural communities and return home with stories that last a lifetime.