Camp Hope is a series of small camps for at-risk campers. Through this often life-changing, memorable week, campers are able to tell their stories, learn lifeskills and build community with each other, all while having so much fun. Catch the first installment of the series here.
Read some of Jeremy McDuffie’s memories from Camp Hope this summer.
Kids come to Camp Hope for a reason, and it can be tough to hear about those reasons and to see how those reasons affect them. However, these kids are resilient. It has been special to listen to campers recount their life experiences and then explain how they want to become social workers, teachers, doctors, and other positions that allow them to make a difference working with kids facing similar circumstances. Some of the most empowering words I have ever heard spoken in the Hope Lodge have come from campers speaking to other campers. Particularly, I remember listening to a girl who used to self-harm talk to another camper about why she wanted her to stop hurting herself. The love and empathy some of these campers show each other is remarkable.
In addition to looking out for each other, some of the campers also take it upon themselves to look after the staff, even in small ways like telling a female counselor she needs her hair braided and doing that. One of my favorite memories is from hanging out one night in the Hope Lodge at Camp Grace this summer. We were making s’mores, and I was in the kitchen helping the girls fix up their s’mores after they roasted their marshmallows outside (over a fire they helped build). Generally, campers would make me s’mores and bring them inside for me. This week, one of the girls wanted to make sure I had the full experience, so she pushed me out the door and told me she would make sure everything was under control inside. I thought it was pretty cool that she wanted everyone to get the full camp experience, including me, the director.
All of our Camp Hope Series campers receive a full campership. If you want to support this ministry to at-risk youth, you can make a donation to the campership fund.