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My Coast Guard
Commentary | May 6, 2024

Need help sending your child to summer camp? The Coast Guard Foundation can help.

By Keisha Reynolds, MyCG Writer

The Coast Guard Foundation’s Youth Enrichment Program is now accepting applications for $500 grants to help send your child to summer camp or to purchase new software or hardware for at-home learning.

Applications will be accepted through August 31 and the program, affectionately called “Coastie Campers” by the Foundation, is offering grants of up $500 per household. In other words, families with multiple kids can apply using separate applications for the individual fees for each child as long as the total amount requested doesn’t exceed $500. Also, funds are awarded based on when the applications are received — be sure to apply early —and the amount of funding available.  

“Our youth enrichment program grants serve as the bridge that connects Coast Guard kids to the transformative experience of summer camp,” shared Susan Ludwig, president of the Coast Guard Foundation. “We love seeing how they explore, grow, and create memories that last a lifetime.”

Last year, the 2023 Youth Enrichment Program provided 588 Coast Guard families with grants for Coastie Campers activities during the summer. 87 percent of the participants attended traditional summer camp programs including: soccer; tennis; swimming; dance; horseback riding; science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM); music; and more. In total, the foundation distributed more than $248,000 in grants. This year, they are on-track to exceed that amount and to continue building on the program’s success. 

Last year’s participants shared their experiences, and the program’s impact is clear. The children of an active-duty member stationed in Alaska participated in gymnastic and tumbling summer programming funded by the Coast Guard Foundation. He noted the difference the grant made for his family. “We are a one-income family, and I don’t want them to miss out on a chance to learn new skills. Thank you for the opportunity,” said the member and parent of then nine-year-old Raelyn and six-year-old Harper.

If you believe the funding can make a difference in your child’s summer activities, here are the eligibility requirements. Recipients must be:

  • A dependent Coast Guard child between and including the ages of five through18
  • A DEERS-certified dependent child of an active-duty Coast Guard member, E2-E9, O1-O3 and W2-W3, or
  • A DEERS-certified dependent child of an active-duty Coast Guard Reserve member, E2-E9, O1-O3 and W2-W3

You can apply by completing and submitting an online application via this website. Applications must include:

  • A copy of your DEERS/MilConnect beneficiary web enrollment
  • Proof of costs prior to paying for the camp registration fees, enrichment activities, or technology purchases will be requested. Also, after the purchases have been made, receipts will be required for verification.

Funds are allocated to the Coast Guard though your districts. When a district’s funding is fully expended, the Foundation will update the post on Selected recipients will be contacted via email, or if necessary, by phone call or letter, directly from the Coast Guard Foundation. Once you are notified of an award, you will have 30 days to accept it, or it may be forfeited.

Another parent, an active-duty Coast Guard member and mom, summarized the positive influence the Coastie Campers’ grant has had on her child, particularly during the vulnerable time of a permanent change of station (PCS) to Seattle at the end of a school year. She said, “Moving is a hard time for a child. Aleah learned so much and made friends at camp. It helped her transition smoothly into her new life in a new location.”

Any questions may be addressed by contacting the Coast Guard Foundation at 860-535-0786 or by emailing Program Manager, Sage Williams at More details about the program can be found on the Coast Guard Foundation’s website.