Safe Futures, a nonprofit working to eradicate domestic violence, is planning a week-long camping experience for children traumatized by domestic violence.

The program, officially titled Camp HOPE America — Safe Futures, combines the traditional outdoorsy fun of summer camp with programming and conversation geared toward helping children overcome the emotional harm that comes from living with violence.

Safe Futures offers a host of support and advocacy programs for victims of domestic violence, including counseling, residential programs and courtroom advocacy. Through these outreach programs, participants for Camp HOPE are identified and referred by Safe Futures staff.

Norwich's Teen Leadership Council collected food to benefit homeless people in the city. (photo submitted)

“I meet with each child and their parent to determine if they are ready for camp,” said Christine Foster, director of crisis counseling for Safe Futures.

Camping activities are hosted by Channel 3 KidsCamp, where campers can enjoy 150 acres along the Skungamaug River.

The program currently serves children age 7 to 12.

In addition to the summer camp, Safe Futures offers year-round mentorships for children traumatized by domestic violence. The mentor program, called Pathways, further enables children to interact with peers, advocates, and families to help process their experiences.

The summer of 2020 marked the debut of Safe Futures’ camping program, and the pandemic prompted a shift to a hybrid of virtual and in-person activities. A similar approach is expected for the coming summer, and each camper will receive a tablet along with a trunk filled with the items needed for all their activities.

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