Camp Morty, a Westchester County residential camping opportunity for children connected to the Department of Social Services (DSS), will have an array of trauma-informed trainings and services available to staff and campers for the first time this summer.

Camp Morty, which is held every summer in North Salem, is a collaborative effort between the Westchester County Departments of Parks, Recreation and Conservation, Social Services and Community Mental Health, along with the Westchester County Parks Foundation. Camp Morty is provided free of charge to Westchester children with serious socio-economic or behavioral health needs, with many children participating who are currently in foster care or placement.

Westchester County Executive George Latimer said: “Over the years at Camp Morty, we have seen certain commonalities exist between children who are currently in our foster care system, and those with socio-economic or mental health needs. I am thankful to our Department of Community Mental Health for seeing that there is a real need here, and implementing a program to help address those needs. It is on us to ensure that our staff and our campers are informed on trauma and its potential impacts.”

DCMH Commissioner Michael Orth said: “Camp Morty is a treasured opportunity and respite for Westchester’s children, many of whom have experienced the trauma of displacement or deep personal insecurity. DCMH is thrilled to be able to assist Camp Morty, its staff and leadership in helping to address the needs of those living with trauma and help them to build long lasting resilience.”

DSS Commissioner Leonard Townes said: “Camp Morty is an amazing opportunity for some of Westchester's most vulnerable children to enjoy all the traditional joys of summer camp, it's also an opportunity for us to provide help that goes beyond fun in the great outdoors. We know that adverse childhood experiences like exposure to violence, abuse, mental health or substance use problems can impact the development of young people and are linked to chronic issue in adulthood. So I'm tremendously grateful to Commissioner Orth and his team at the Department of Community Mental Health for developing this program to address the impact of childhood traumas in the lives of our campers. It gives us a chance to change children’s lives, not just for a summer, but for a lifetime.”

Parks, Recreation and Conservation Commissioner Kathy O’Connor said: “I am thrilled that the Department of Community Mental Health is providing very important training for dealing with trauma to the staff at Camp Morty. This training will give the staff valuable information when working with the campers, and will certainly help the campers to have the best experience during their stay at Camp Morty.”

Westchester Parks Foundation Chairperson Seth Mandelbaum said: “Camp Morty’s mission is to provide campers with a traditional summer camp experience that promotes personal and career development. The trauma-informed training and services that the County is providing to staff and campers is vital to help campers succeed not only at Camp Morty, but also at home in their communities.”

For the past several years, the Department of Community Mental Health (DCMH) has worked tirelessly to increase the understanding of the impact of “Adverse Childhood Experiences” (ACES) in relation to trauma, and the long term effects of ACES trauma on health and mental health. DCMH has offered technical support, consultation and trainings to a variety of organizations, including the 9th Judicial District, the Town of Ossining, WC Department of Probation, the Yonkers School District and many others.

DCMH Program Director Dr. Andy Bell co-facilitated a training for Camp Morty staff with Camp Morty Director Mary Ehring-Maldonado and Associate Director Shreya Kontham, and will meet weekly with counselors and directors to address issues and challenges as they arise throughout the summer program.

For additional details on Camp Morty, visit