The long-term goal of Hilaroo is to own a piece of land where a permanent facility will be built. This facility will host the daytime camps, allow them to run longer than four days and provide the option of longer summer sleep away camps in addition to day camps.
It will also be a place kids could come after school, have additional learning facilities, a place to come back and work once they’ve graduated, and of course, a home for rescued dogs to live until they’re adopted, or make Hilaroo their forever home.
The goal is to be working with 100 dogs and 100 kids on an ongoing basis. Kids will graduate and dogs will be rescued into forever homes, allowing us to pull more dogs that are going to be euthanized out of kill shelters and into the program to live on the land, until they too can be adopted into forever homes. The hope is that the youth who graduate will come back and work at the facility and mentor kids who are up and coming so that there’s a constant cycle of giving back.
Precipitated by youth who have attended previous programs and displayed curiosity about how to become dog trainers and photographers when seeing them at work, youth will receive trade training from people already on the property and others who will be brought in as guest speakers. For example, if there was a new building being erected on the premises, the architect would introduce himself to the youth attending the program, explain to the group what he does and how he got into being an architect. The same would be done by the builder, the plumber, the electrician…Additionally entertainment professionals, musicians, hairstylists and people with various other professions will visit to open the youths eyes to all of the things they could become and helps them see the bigger picture.
Hilaroo believes education is the foundation for a fuller life. Since many of the underserved youth either live in homes that may have 10 or more people living in a one-bedroom house and don’t have a quiet place to study, or homes where the parents aren’t around to help with schoolwork, there will be tutoring available and after school programs.
“Education is important because you need to finish high school to get any type of job, but it’s also important because you’re applying yourself to something and you’re showing up for yourself,” Hilary says.