CAMP ERUTAN is an idea that Lisa Tanzman and Elaine Mermelstein turned into reality beginning in 1987. The idea was to reunite siblings from inner cities, placed in foster care as a result of abuse or neglect, who had been separated by the foster care system. We reunite these kids, however briefly, in a camp set in nature where they are offered activities and programs to help heal and mend. In 1987 CAMP ERUTAN started with one campsite on land owned by a supporter. On this site, the first group of kids were introduced to nature and the philosophy of CAMP ERUTAN AWARENESS, BALANCE AND CHOICE. Today, CAMP ERUTAN operates several sessions of camp around the country and serves at risk children from inner cities. Camp is free of charge and run by a staff of volunteers.


We work with social workers, CASA volunteers, foster families and social service agencies to identify the children who would benefit the most from the CAMP ERUTAN experience. These camps are overseen by Ms. Tanzman, Founder and Director of CAMP ERUTAN and Ms. Mermelstein.


CAMP ERUTAN gives children an outdoor experience in a safe and nurturing environment built around a mix of therapeutic play, natural history education, and expressive arts. The mission of CAMP ERUTAN was, and still is, to reunite siblings separated by the foster care system in a natural setting emphasizing expression and personal choices. After more than 20 years CAMP ERUTAN is poised to embark on an exciting growth phase. Please see the ‘Erutan Communities’ and ‘Erutan Parent Center’ pages on this site.

‘you make the difference’ award

CAMP ERUTAN was recently awarded the “You Make the Difference” Award by Safe Horizons, one of its partner organizations in New York. Other partners include the L.A. Department of Child and Family Services and individual social workers in L.A., Berkeley, and New York counties. Of Camp ERUTAN, Kimmi Herring of Safe Horizons has said, “The program's mission of teaching its ABC's parallels Safe Horizon's mission to ‘provide support, prevent violence, and promote justice for victims' of crime and abuse’… Camp ERUTAN helped our children face adversity, overcome obstacles, and emerge stronger than before. The lessons learned and the experience will have a positive impact on the participants for the rest of their lives.”