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Hard times for Glendale's Camp Rosie

Program for girls may be truncated due to lack of participation, funding.

July 16, 2013|By Kelly Corrigan, kelly.corrigan@latimes.com
  • Camp Rosie participant Kyla Khouri, 14, of Glendale, learns self-defense techniques from instructor Nelson Nio at Pacific Community Center in Glendale on Tuesday, July 16, 2013. The participating teenage girls also learn about finances, healthy relationships and fitness.
Camp Rosie participant Kyla Khouri, 14, of Glendale,… (Raul Roa / Staff…)

A summer camp created by Glendale's Commission on the Status of Women to empower girls now needs some encouragement of its own.

Due to a lack of interest in Camp Rosie, organizers this week said they may cancel a session that is due to begin on Monday.

PHOTOS: Self-defense lessons at Camp Rose in Glendale

Just 18 girls had signed up for Camp Rosie's first session, which ends this week and offered 30 spots. As of Tuesday, 12 girls had signed up for the second session, slated for next week, but if 18 girls aren't signed up by Friday, the commission may cancel it.

The free camp was established by the commission seven years ago to teach girls ages 12 to 18 about financial literacy, self-defense and maintaining healthy relationships. Meanwhile, in addition to financial grants, the commission raises thousands of dollars each year to run two, three-week sessions.

Months before summer, the Commission on the Status of Women advertises Camp Rosie in Glendale schools and through several community nonprofits that serve the program's demographic.

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Commissioner Paula Devine said the camp's ongoing low enrollment was baffling.

Each year, the commission takes a poll from participants about what can be improved and organizers have, over time, made changes to the time and location of the camp, and to discussion topics.

"As hard as we try, we're just not enrolling as many as we would like," Devine said, adding that it has struggled to operate at full capacity in years past. "It's a conundrum. We can't figure it out."

For commission Chairwoman Denise Miller, the declining enrollment has been "a call to action."

"We have to really own this in terms of all the outreach we do, in terms of all the community groups we work with," she said.

Along with declining enrollment, the City Council recently withheld from various organizations, including Camp Rosie, $10,000 in federal Community Development Block Grant funds due to dwindling resources.

For the past four years, the CDGB grants had paid for a majority of the camp's expenses.

The direct cost to host the camp this year came to more than $11,000.

Without CDBG grants, the commission may offer just one summer session next year, but commissioners have agreed that they do not want to do away with the program all together.

"We're just like every other nonprofit in the city," Devine said. "Grants aren't coming in. The money's not there. Everybody has to just kind of adjust."

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Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.

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