Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips said recently that he wants more county involvement in Camp HOPE, which he said is an extremely important program that helps kids who’ve been affected by domestic violence.

At the Guilford County Board of Commissioners August meeting, Phillips said the camp was a vital program that did a world of good and he added that he wanted to see his fellow commissioners and Guilford County government as a whole do more to support and promote the camp and its activities.

The goal of the camp, which is overseen by the Guilford County Family Justice Center, is to use the week as a healing experience for the kids.

“I’m not pointing any fingers, and I’m not blaming anybody at this point,” Phillips said pointing out that this is the third year of the camp. “But I really want to encourage our board to be more engaged in Camp HOPE going forward, whatever that may mean.”

Phillips, who’s made addressing mental health and domestic violence two of his signature issues since becoming a commissioner in 2012, made the passionate request to other commissioners after hearing from some of the 60 Camp HOPE attendees – and after witnessing first-hand the effect that the camp had on the lives of those kids.

Promotional literature describing the camp reads, “Campers, through a special curriculum developed around traditional camp activities, build resiliency, gain independence and discover pathways to hope and healing.”

Phillips said the kids had shared very powerful stories that conveyed courage and bravery and he added that the camp helped not only those in Guilford County but children from surrounding areas.

After the summer camp experience, such as the one Phillips just observed, the kids are also provided with follow-up activities that help them maintain the friendships they establish at the camp.

At the commissioners meeting, Phillips thanked Guilford County Family Justice Center Director Catherine Johnson, local volunteers, the Weaver Foundation, YMCA counselors and other staff, the and others who put a great deal of work into this year’s camp.

Phillips said one thing the county can do is help to increase awareness of the camp and help bring in donations.

He said, “I have committed to Catherine to be instrumental in terms of fundraising going forward – which is about $700 per child, which, times 60, is not insignificant.  Nevertheless, I’m just very, very proud of what’s being done in the southeast part of the county on behalf of these children who have been affected by domestic violence.”