Over CalSAFE's history our team has taken on multiple projects. (more info)
Two CalSafe leadership council and one Cal SAFE Member volunteered at Camp HOPE America this summer. Camp HOPE is the first evidence-based camping and mentoring program for children exposed to trauma in the United States. The goal of this camp is to give children and teens their childhood back and help them find a Pathway to HOPE. Camp HOPE San Diego started in 2003 and originated from the San Diego Family Justice Center, an agency that focuses on serving victims of domestic violence and their children, under the direction of Casey Gwinn. In 2013 Camp HOPE expanded throughout California, and in 2015, Camp HOPE America took place in five states, and it continues to grow. Approximately 1500 youth were able to participate in 2018 through funding from Verizon and other donors. Those of us from CalSafe who had the good fortune to participate as camp nurses experienced working and playing with children who were tubing, mastering ropes courses, and enjoying art projects, horses, and kayaks. We sang campfire songs and watched skits, we made smores and applauded for children when they received Character Trait Awards. At the campfire every night the children raised their hands to answer the question “Where did you see hope today?” We watched children thrive in an environment where they felt safe, seen, encouraged, and loved. The camp uses an evidence-based curriculum that teaches the campers to believe in themselves, others, and their dreams. One youth, a counselor, experienced a life-threatening emergency. When we visited him in the hospital he said “I know I had this thing happen and I ended up in the hospital, but this was still the best week of my life.” It may have been our best week, too. Camp Hope was a life and career changing experience-Cal SAFE Leader. I recommend anyone who has a chance to be part of this experience take the time to volunteer.