The Guilford County Family Justice Center is hosting “Camp HOPE America- North Carolina, Guilford County” for a fifth year.
Guilford County officials are optimistic that this new camp will bring the same benefits to participating children that the past camps have.
The program is described as “a national evidence-based camping and mentoring program for children impacted by violence and abuse,” with Camp HOPE’s primary goal being to “break the generational outcomes of domestic violence through team building, evidence-informed programming, and high adventure, challenge-by-choice activities.”
Guilford County commissioners have been impressed with the success stories they’ve heard from the camp since it began in Guilford County under the direction of the Family Justice Center – a county service that helps abuse and sexual assault victims as well as others experiencing problems in the home.
This year, about 50 kids are expected to participate in the six-day, five-night camp from Sunday, Aug. 8 to Friday, Aug. 13.
The camp will be held at the YMCA’s Camp Weaver at 4924 Tapawingo Trail in Greensboro.
Campers are chosen by the Family Justice Center and its partners who work with troubled families.
Catherine Johnson, the director of the Family Justice Center, said the program has really proven itself over time.
In a prepared statement, Johnson stated, “Community partners including social workers, law enforcement, and therapists nominated children who we thought would greatly benefit from this type of experience. This program has proven results. The last five years of programming have shown positive outcomes for the young people who go to the camp and who participate in our year-round programming. It really changes the trajectory of their lives.”
The camp experience follows the guidelines of Camp HOPE America, an affiliate program of the Alliance for HOPE International.
Camp Hope attempts to challenge and build self-confidence in kids who’ve gone through a great deal. Camp staff members and volunteers provide a 1-to-3 ratio of counselors to campers.
Johnson said the counselors have “a tremendous impact” on the campers and added that the week-long adventure can be “life-changing” for both the campers and counselors.
HOPE counselors are in some cases youth leaders from Guilford County’s high schools, colleges and universities.
The money for Camp HOPE is provided by the Weaver Foundation and Guilford County, as well as other various corporate and community sponsors.
All campers participate without cost.
Former Guilford County Commissioner Jeff Phillips has been a very vocal advocate of the program, and, when he was chairman of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners, he worked for more county involvement in the camp that, he said at the time, is an extremely important program.
In 2019, Phillips said the camp was a vital program that does 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.
“I’m not pointing any fingers, and I’m not blaming anybody at this point,” Phillips said two years ago. “But I really want to encourage our board to be more engaged in Camp HOPE going forward, whatever that may mean.”
These days the county certainly seems to be behind it.
Promotional literature describing the camp states, “Campers, through a special curriculum developed around traditional camp activities, build resiliency, gain independence and discover pathways to hope and healing.”
The kids are also provided with follow-up activities that help them maintain the friendships they establish at the camp.
In recent years, the price tag has been about $700 per camper, with 50 to 60 kids attending,
Anyone who wants to learn more about Guilford County’s program can visit https://www.guilfordcountync.gov/our- county/family-justice-center/pathways-camp-hope.