Camp HOPE America – Camp Chronicles

Harbor House is thrilled to share some heartwarming stories from our recent sleepaway camp partnership with Camp HOPE America, the first evidence-based camping and mentoring program in the United States focusing on youth exposed to domestic violence.

During the week-long sleepaway camp, campers are encouraged to step outside their comfort zones and try new activities, helping them to overcome their fears.

Camp HOPE is dedicated to showing youth that there is hope for overcoming adversity, abuse, and other real-life challenges. At Camp HOPE, hope is defined as believing in yourself, believing in others, and believing in dreams.

This year, 60 brave campers, including 16 from Harbor House, ventured to Camp HOPE to find hope and face their fears. Here are the inspiring stories of two of our youngest first-time campers.

A Journey of Friendship

Two of our youngest campers, aged 7 and 8, faced many challenges during their first time away from home. They struggled with adjusting to the new environment, sharing space with other kids, and making friends. Their attempts at socializing often led to misunderstandings, causing a rocky start to their week.

However, by the final night, their transformation was evident. During a party with karaoke, dancing, and campfire songs, one camper apologized to the other for any hurt caused during the week and gave a heartfelt hug. The other responded with an “I love you” and another hug. This touching moment showcased their growth and the deep bonds they had formed.

Overcoming Fears

Another remarkable story involves a 7-year-old camper’s canoeing experience. At the sight of a gator, many kids were scared, especially the youngest camper, who began to panic. With encouragement from older campers and staff, he bravely got into the canoe, despite his fears and tears. Although he initially wanted to return to shore, he found the courage to try again later, ultimately conquering his fears and earning a Character Trait Award for Courage.

These stories are just a glimpse of the incredible transformations that take place at Camp HOPE. We are immensely proud of all our campers and the hope they’ve discovered.

*Names changed to protect identities.