Camp offers Hope and Healing to Children Impacted by Abuse and Trauma

Beginning in summer 2017, The Center for Family Justice plans to bring a safe, healthy and fun summer camp experience to approximately 36 local children who have been adversely impacted by the generational cycles of domestic and sexual violence and child abuse.

Camp HOPE Connecticut will be the first summer camp and mentoring program in New England for children who have experienced primary or secondary abuse and trauma.

This groundbreaking camp, which offers a clinically-proven curriculum designed to help children overcome trauma to lead more hopeful lives, is being offered by CFJ in collaboration with the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA at two locations: Camp Hi-Rock in the Massachusetts’ Berkshires (for overnight camp) and Camp Tepee in Monroe (for day campers).

“We are thrilled to bring this extraordinary experience to children who have experienced trauma they did not deserve,” says Debra A. Greenwood, President/CEO of CFJ. “By founding a Camp HOPE in our region, we are taking an important step toward giving kids back part of the childhoods they have lost to abuse and trauma. We are also giving them hope they can lead safer, healthier lives free of trauma and abuse in the future.”

Camp HOPE Connecticut is modeled after several other Camp HOPE programs which have launched throughout the United States in recent years. The first Camp HOPE opened in San Diego, Calif. in 2003. Clinical research has shown these camps work; giving children who attend a greater sense of optimism and resiliency.

To create this transformative experience, Camp HOPE Connecticut depends on a close partnership with the Central Connecticut Coast YMCA, which is offering its accredited camp facilities and expert staff to help CFJ provide this program to children ages of 7 and 11.

Jessica Speer-Holmes, executive director of Camp Hi-Rock, notes that besides helping children overcome their trauma, Camp HOPE Connecticut will offer them a chance to enjoy the beauty of nature and the joys of summer. “They will be going to camp in an incredibly beautiful place where they will be apart from screen time and the Internet and be with all these caring wonderful people surrounded by nature,” she said. “For the Camp HOPE kids there will also be a unique component of understanding their trauma and helping them cope with it and overcome it in a very committed way with a curriculum that’s to helping them overcome their experiences.”

Children will attend Camp HOPE Connecticut for free, but CFJ is actively raising funds to provide camperships to deserving children. It costs approximately $1,000 to send a camper for a week of overnight camp and $500 for a week of day camp.

“We are grateful for the financial support we have received from generous benefactors to help us bring this camp to children who will benefit from this experience,” said Greenwood. Among the benefactors who have supported Camp HOPE Connecticut are Verizon Corp., which has endowed 15 camperships.

To support Camp HOPE Connecticut, please contact Marissa Donnelly at or at 203-334-6154 ext. 121.