The third year of Daniel J. Wilcox Camp HOPE – New Jersey was a great success! DJW Camp HOPE-NJ supports children, who have been impacted by domestic violence, find a pathway to HOPE through the life changing camping modality. In June 2019, twenty-three children, ages 7-11 years old, took part in this exciting week long adventure at Fairview Lake YMCA Camp.

2019 Campers (13)  2019 Water Slide (3)

Camp HOPE-NJ involves team building activities, values-based programming, and engaging camp activities. Campers enjoyed swimming, boating, rock wall climbing, horseback riding, rock painting, archery, candle making, hiking on the Appalachian Trail and more. The children loved caring for the animals at camp; which had chickens, including baby chicks, bunnies, donkeys, and goats. Most of the children shared their favorite activity was the new water slide!

Campfire was filled with fun songs, engaging conversations, and character trait awards. This year, we enjoyed spending time with a representative from Camp HOPE America who shared new camp songs that got the campers dancing and singing! They read stories about individuals who overcame adversity and shared how they identified with these aspects in their own lives. Campers demonstrated their leadership skills and challenged themselves to try new things. Some campers shared they took on new experiences by pushing themselves on the hike, finding ways to support and encourage others, overcoming fears, jumping off the dock into the water, and making new friends.

This year’s theme “Hope Rising” resonated with the children as they shared what hope means to them…
 Trusting someone and believing in your dreams.
 To help someone, have fun, being brave, to be kind.
 You can do the thing that you want to do.
 Happiness because at Camp HOPE I always feel happy and creative.
 Making new friend, having fun, try new things.

At the end of the week, one camper asked to make a special speech. Standing in front of the group he shared that this was his first DJW Camp HOPE experience and while there are many returning campers; he felt welcomed, encouraged and connected. He expressed “we are a community.” Campers, counselors, and staff were filled with tears of joy and gratitude.