What is Camp HOPE?

The idea behind Camp HOPE is to help children heal from trauma and have the fun, playful experiences that they deserve. Developed through the National Family Justice Center Alliance in 2003, Camp HOPE is based on proven research that indicates how important hope is for child survivors of violence. It is a natural extension of the Family Justice Center model.

Violence against children and families thrives on the silence and isolation of the victims. Often, when young people are exposed to violence, they withdraw — not only emotionally but also physically, jeopardizing their health in the process. In some cases they begin to act out the violence themselves, perpetuating a cycle.

Proven programming like Camp HOPE engages communities — encouraging residents to bring the issue of domestic violence out of the shadows by clarifying the way that violence affects children and adolescents.

Camp HOPE, structured around Dr. Chan Hellman’s “HOPE Theory” research, provides children ages 6 to 15 who have been exposed to domestic and/or sexual violence with the opportunity to get outdoors, play, and have fun.

These experiences sound simple enough, but for youth whose lives have been affected by violence, they are even more crucial to recovery from trauma. Camp HOPE includes programmatic elements related to emotional care (including nightly check-ins and positive character trait development), but the main focus is promoting healing through active play and recreation.

Why Here?

In 2014, A Safe Place Family Justice Center participated in the model by bringing children of program participants from A Safe Place to Camp HOPE California. Feedback from the local campers was overwhelmingly positive, and these experiences allowed advocates and counselors to learn from this valuable work. It also served as a catalyst to establish the model in Oregon so that more children from A Safe Place have increased access to this valuable opportunity.

The following summer, in partnership with Clackamas Women’s Services, we launched a three-year pilot project for Camp HOPE Oregon in the Mt. Hood area of Clackamas County, Oregon. In the summer of 2017, Clackamas Women’s Services will conclude its three-year pilot of Camp HOPE Oregon before expanding it into a permanent program.

Former Clackamas County Chair Ludlow recently said it best: “All children deserve to feel hopeful about their future. Let’s come together as a community and replace hurt with healing and HOPE.”

A Safe Place requests your partnership in the three-year launch of Camp HOPE Oregon.

There are many ways that you can become a partner:

Make a pledge of financial support towards this three-year launch of Camp HOPE Oregon

Engage your friends and colleagues to sponsor a child at Camp HOPE Oregon

Garner support from your community organization or church to support Camp HOPE

Clackamas Women’s Services will serve as the lead service provider and fiscal sponsor for this project on behalf of A Safe Place Family Justice Center for Clackamas County. Development Director John Aney, is available to discuss your involvement and support. John can be reached at 503-557-5820 or johna@cwsor.org.

To make a tax-deductible gift, please address your gift to Clackamas Women’s Services, 256 Warner Milne Rd., Oregon City, OR 97045 or make a gift online at www.cwsor.org.