“Camp HOPE America – Texas, One Safe Place has been holding summer camp in partnership with Camp Hope America since 2014. We started our first year with 40 campers and have now increased to 100 to 120 campers. In 2017, we partnered with Carolina Creek Camp, this has been a huge success for our program. This change has allowed us new enhanced activities, air-conditioned cabins, increased integration of partner camp, and a safe environment to call home.

During our time at camp endless friendships are made, some in the most difficult of times. This year at camp we had a giant blow-up slide in the lagoon. The first task was to get yourself out of the water onto the slide’s platform to start climbing. The platform was very wobbly and you had to find the perfect place for your feet to pull yourself up almost 3 feet out of the water. As one person tried many times and almost gave up, three 12-year-old girls began to chant “We are strong. We are able.” At that moment, a few things happened; the girls had HOPE, they became a team, and they had a plan. The person trying to get up on the slide was pulled up by three determined girls. Watching this moment filled my heart because I was the person who was pulled out of the water by these HOPE givers. Yes, they pulled an adult out of water because they had HOPE, determination, and a team cheering them on. As we talked about our triumph the girls giggled and talked about how having HOPE made that possible.

Throughout the year, we hold quarterly, follow-up pathways activities for our campers. This year for our 30-day post-camp reunion, we had a 1500 ft. water slide bounce house, video gaming trucks, tie dye t-shirt making, and a cookout. This was such a great day and the celebration our campers needed before starting school. During our November pathways event, we offered the parents the opportunity to stay and participate. At this event, we had the kids rotating through three different activities that included: STEM, yoga, and an animal personality style exercise. While the campers were rotating, the parents were able to register for our toy store for assistance during the holidays, completed the same animal personality exercise, and we administered the Adverse Childhood Exposure test and provided an overview and explanation on the study and effects that trauma has on children.

For 2018, we are really excited about partnering with Camp Hope America – Louisiana, New Orleans. We are looking forward to integrating Texas and Louisiana campers to experience HOPE across state lines. Our partner camp has built a BRAND-NEW Adventure Park to add to our campers High Ropes experience. The course will allow for an entire cabin to be traversing and exploring all at the same time!”

-Jessi Rixie, Coordinator at Camp HOPE America – Texas, One Safe Place