This week, we are excited to highlight our friends from Camp HOPE America – New Jersey! The first year of Camp HOPE America – New Jersey helped kids create fun childhood memories that will stay in their hearts forever.

“In 2017, Jersey Battered Women’s Service/Morris Family Justice Center partnered with Fairview Lake YMCA Camp for the inagural year of Camp HOPE America – New Jersey. We started our first year with 21 campers who enjoyed an amazing week of adventure, healing, and hope.

Throughout the week, campers developed leadership skills and challenged themselves with new experiences. The Fairview Lake YMCA Camp grounds provided the opportunity for swimming, boating, rock climbing, horseback riding, archery, candle making, hiking on the Appalachian Trail and more. Campfires were filled with heart-felt conversations, character trait awards, silly songs, and of course s’mores. Many children shared this was the first time they had roasted a marshmallow. Campers were able to see hope in themselves and one another. They developed a greater sense of self; learning they are brave, resilient, and full of hope for their future.

One young girl displayed the theme “I am strong. I am able.” by taking on the challenge by choice of riding a horse. Although she was afraid, she was determined to try. With the support and encouragement of others, she jumped on with courage and overcame her fear. She rode the horse with a big smile on her face and that evening received the character trait award of Brave.

Not only was camp impactful for campers, but for counselors and staff as well. One camp counselor shared, “Being at Camp HOPE America was a whole new sensation for me… As much as it was helpful and life-changing for the kids, it was incredibly helpful and life-changing for myself as well. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to be a part of this amazing, completely life-changing process!”

Camp HOPE America – New Jersey families also participated in the 30 Day Post-Camp Reunion. This was such a great day filled with food, camp songs, and engaging activities. The families attended a holiday party as well. A fun evening filled with crafts, cookie decorating, face painting, dancing, and more. They also enjoyed a visit and photo with Santa! These events were good reminders for all involved to remember we are connected to something bigger.

We are all looking forward to another amazing year of Camp HOPE America – New Jersey 2018!”

Amber Szuch, Director – Children’s Program, Jersey Battered Women’s Service, Camp HOPE America — New Jersey