One Safe Place has been operating Camp HOPE America – Texas since 2014 with funding from the Rex Rixie Memorial Fund. In 2014 when Rex passed, it became important to his wife that his memory continued to impact the lives of those who need it most, children. Rex always had a love for adventure and education, what better way to implement two of his passions than at Camp HOPE America – Texas. Camp HOPE America – Texas has provided campers with an opportunity to experience summer camp and a chance to develop a healthy sense of self and HOPE for their future.
In 2016, One Safe Place became one of the first Camp HOPE America affiliates in the nation. “This gave us the ability to grow with other Family Justice Centers. By participating in this program we have access to the evidence-based programming of Camp HOPE America” said Jessica Rixie, Camp HOPE Coordinator, One Safe Place.
As an affiliated Camp HOPE America site, One Safe Place was able to fully incorporate the Camp HOPE America curriculum and HOPE theory into their programming, something that they were unable to do in the past. “During camp this summer, we witnessed personal connections between the campers and their cabin counselors. There was an increase in the amount of support campers gave to one another while trying new and challenging activities. We also noticed that while our campers were working on their art projects they were demonstrating more hopeful messages with their art” said Jessica.
“Throughout our years at camp, there have been countless memories that will last a lifetime. Last year during a team building activity, one of the challenges was to put your HOPE circle in a line arranged by dates of birth. Though this seemed like an easy task, one camper did not know the month that she was born. It quickly became a goal not only to the child but also the staff that if there was one thing she would take away from camp it would be knowing her birthday. Every day in passing, between challenges, and during meals, staff took the opportunity to ask her what her birthday was. By the time we arrived home from camp she could tell you her birthday without thinking about it. It is the small triumphs that pave the way to larger ones,” said Jessica.
This year Camp HOPE Texas is moving to a new location to provide their campers with the best environment possible that includes new and challenging activities.