Hands In 4 Youth

hands in 4 youth

Felix Urrutia
Goal: Investor/Partner

In 1924, a group of teachers, social workers and businessmen saw that girls from working poor families in New York City’s Lower East Side needed a summer respite, and could benefit from exposure to a new environment outside of the city streets. In response, they formed East Side Vacation Camp Association and began providing summer camping opportunities for girls from working poor families and later expanded to serve boys so that they too could benefit from the fresh air, sun, exercise, and community living in a lakeside mountain environment.

Seeing that young people from New York City and New Jersey needed the same summer camping experience, East Side Vacation Camp Association expanded its service area in 1948 and again in 1955 when it changed its name to Camp Vacamas and moved from Kingston, NY to its present location in the foothills of the Ramapo Mountains in West Milford, NJ.

In the mid 1980’s, Camp Vacamas started proving year-round services in New Jersey and New York schools when student performance decreased dramatically and demand for programs like Camp Vacamas increased. During this period of immense growth, Camp Vacamas modified its name to Vacamas Programs for Youth (Vacamas) and added a new location in Harriman State Park and named it Top of the Pines.  Soon after, Vacamas Day Camp was established to serve the children of Bloomingdale, West Milford, and the neighboring communities.

For 90 years, Vacamas has understood the changing needs of children, families and communities, and responded with quality summer camping, after-school, in-school, and experiential learning programs.

In its 90th Anniversary, Vacamas underwent a comprehensive organizational review and emerged as “Hands In 4 Youth” with a new mission, program identity and vision for the future. While Hands In 4 Youth remains one of the nation’s longest standing non-profit camping leaders in the youth development field, we are preparing for a brighter future.

Contact: Felix A. Urrutia, Jr
Tel: 973-991-5759
Email: furrutia@hi4y.org