The life changing program we deliver today to more than 1200 young people has evolved continually since it was conceived by John Alm in 1999.  After years of sending his own children to summer camp, John saw the impact that it had on their lives; helping them develop personal skills, confidence, and improved self esteem. He could see that the camp experience was an amazing lesson in life for all who were fortunate enough to attend.

The CEO of Coca-Cola Enterprises at the time, John had a vision of serving disadvantaged youth from inner-city neighborhoods of Los Angeles.  He had the resources and the passion to bring that vision to life by buying land in Wyoming, building a camp on that land, and hiring a staff to create the Paintrock Canyon program. He brought 36 LA teens to Paintrock that summer for a five-week experience at camp; far away from their everyday lives in Los Angeles.

The Coca-Cola system saw the Paintrock Canyon Program and was inspired by it. With a century-long tradition of supporting youth and an appetite for tackling big challenges, a program like this was a natural fit for Coke. The Camp Coca-Cola Foundation was formed and work began to develop the most comprehensive and effective youth development program possible. Over the next six years, we opened programs serving young people in five cities. In 2006 we came full circle and the Paintrock Canyon Program officially became part of the Camp Coca-Cola family.

Knowing that the long-term success of a program like this requires local ownership, in 2006 we began the process of building a regional board of directors for each program site. At the same time we changed our name to “C5”– taking the emphasis off the camp portion of the curriculum and Coca-Cola’s role as our founding sponsor and focusing instead on the characteristics we desire for our youth.

With C5’s program development work complete, the role of governance and fundraising has transitioned to the local governing bodies. Each of our affiliate sites, managed by a highly qualified executive director and led by a board of prominent business and civic leaders, is an independent 501(c) (3) public charity.The four independent sites (C5 Georgia, C5 LA, C5 New England, and C5 Texas) work together to maintain program quality and provide mutual support through the Association of C5 Youth Programs.