What is Camp HOPE?

10446698_416619568479171_3512504019228871461_nThe 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 six 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. The camp includes programmatic elements related to emotional care (such as nightly check-ins and positive character trait development), but the main focus is promoting healing through active play and recreation.

Why Here?

A Safe Place Family Justice Center recently 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 both allowed advocates and counselors to learn from this valuable work and served as a catalyst to establish a Camp HOPE Oregon so that more children from A Safe Place have increased access to this valuable opportunity. This summer, CWS and Clackamas County are partnering on behalf of A Safe Place to host the first official Camp HOPE Oregon pilot project at Camp Arrah Wanna, right here in Clackamas County.

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 (CWS) 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, Chris Wilhite, is available to discuss your involvement and support. Chris can be reached at 503-557-5820 or

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

Become involved in making Camp HOPE America – Oregon a great experience for kids.