“In 2013, a Clackamas Women’s Services’ (CWS) Children’s Therapist attended a Camp HOPE California training retreat. After returning with enthusiasm and zest, Catherine and two other staff members, Maggie and Norma, began to work closely to develop a plan to bring Camp HOPE to children within their community. In July 2014, CWS staff and volunteers brought 10 children to California to experience Camp HOPE in person. The experience of taking campers to Camp HOPE California made it clear that the model could be replicated in Oregon. In partnership with A Safe Place Family Justice Center, CWS launched Camp HOPE Oregon on Mt. Hood in 2015 and facilitated the 2nd summer of camp in 2016. Having the camp located in Clackamas County makes it accessible to a large number of staff and volunteers who want to participate in the program! Camp HOPE Oregon served 50 children in 2016 and our hope is to increase the number of children served to 64 children in 2017.
During a post-camp parent session, many parents agreed that their children had gone to camp with reservations and feelings of nervousness; however, when they got home they talked about having a great time and shared stories of all their new friends! One parent shared that the pillow case filled with all the signatures of her child’s camper friends was now the prized possession in their home!
One Counselor explains, “No one knows how greatly the kids can impact you until you’re placed in such special circumstances with them. Camp HOPE has given me dreams for the future far greater than anything I would have achieved without it. Because of this program, I have now changed my major to Human Services with a double minor in Political Science and Spanish…Camp changed my life…”
The support that we’ve received from the community has been incredible! In 2016, we trained 13 Camp Counselors on the impacts of violence on children and ways to work with children who have experienced trauma. We had 38 Staff and Volunteers from the community and FJC partnerships that helped with the program. We also had four nurses who volunteered their time and six visitors from the Olympia FJC who are planning to start Camp HOPE Washington this summer!
This year we’ve created community partnerships in order to offer ongoing, yearly events so campers can continue to build on the positive relationships they created at camp. A day at the Pumpkin Patch, Winter Reunion, and our upcoming Red Carpet private movie screening have all been a huge success and we are looking forward to continuing these partnerships in years to come!”