Amidst great community support, Camp Hope recently held another successful event. Camp Hope's second annual fundraising dinner was held Feb 2 at the Battle Ground Community Center, despite threatening weather and other adverse events. Around $27,000 was raised toward the Camp Hope cause of empowering youth to face life's challenges through the principles of trust, truth and unconditional love. The Camp Hope team wishes to extend heartfelt gratitude to every person who made this event so successful—on many levels.
The community support, despite the freezing temps, was overwhelming—from functional and lovely donated auction items to enthusiastic bidders to plenty of youthful auction helpers. Beautiful flowers, campy décor and live music added to the warm festive atmosphere as attendees bid on silent auction items and perused the live auction offerings in the well-designed event guide. Guests were seated and the fun continued. After updates from Camp Hope, dinner was served by Summerland Catering—who once again gave a generous discount for their fine fare.
Soon, expert auctioneer, Dan Friess began doing what only a seasoned auctioneer can do—create an entertaining atmosphere, while inviting involvement and competitive bidding. During a special-ask opportunity, a generous donation from New Tradition Homes (and unanimous others) allowed for matching funds. Many camp champions raised their paddles to offer their financial support of the Camp Hope cause, which is rooted in the belief that working together we can make a difference in the lives of kids in our community – by providing a place of love, support, and connections.
Through monthly day camps, which run from March – November, Camp Hope provides that safe happy place. Last year, hundreds of kids attended interactive, skill-building day camps. Their feedback was overwhelmingly positive and plans are well underway for another grand season. Their anonymous comments included these, "this was the best day of my life," "coming to camp made me feel happy, stress-free and more social," and "the people I met here were friendly, it's like a big family."
At the auction, guests were invited to remember what it was like as a child – running through the woods, gathering with friends around campfires, hearing stories told by grown-ups, feeling a sense of belonging, and being a part of the larger community. At Camp Hope, that same kind of atmosphere exists. Through the day camps, many kids are served across all socio-economic spheres - from a broad range of demographics and backgrounds. All youth are welcome—to a place of love and learning and connections, through a caring and growth-oriented atmosphere.
Today, Camp Hope, located across the Lewis River from Lewisville Park, has two main functions —1) the monthly student day camps and 2) a beautiful camping facility – for day use or overnight camping (open to all), sleeping up to 128 in renovated cabins. To achieve the Camp Hope mission and reach the youth of the community, Camp Hope was given a wonderful platform, courtesy of the Clark County Parks and Recreation, through a zero cost lease. This 100-plus acres of forested land, is only minutes from Battle Ground city center yet visitors feel as if they traveled far out of the city. The camp was in a derelict state prior to Camp Hope, from many years of non-use. As the result of much hard work, the camp is now in use regularly.
As for the future of the camp, the overall vision has just begun to be implemented. The Camp Hope board expressed its vision to the county for site development including, roads, trails and buildings. In cooperation with the county, over the past 6 months a master use plan has been created and approved by the Clark County Commissioners this past fall. This plan will be the guide forward in investing in the camp as a community resource. The plan includes the provision for a long-term lease agreement with Camp Hope.
Camp Hope's visibility is rising within the community and plans are moving forward for the upcoming season. Training for volunteers will take place on March 25 with Curtis Miller, presenting ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and Resilience-Building training so Camp Hope can continue to compassionately meet the needs of youth in the community. (Space is available in the training session for only $25 per person.) At the camp, day-use and overnight camping reservations are already coming in, along with plans for the dynamic day camps, starting in March. For more information, visit www.camphope-wa.org. Or, come to hear a live presentation at the Battle Ground City Council meeting on February 21.
Going forward, camp improvement projects will be prioritized around a central building with provisions for a meeting and dining hall. Volunteers and donations are needed to move this vision forward—both financial and technical skill sets are required. Additionally, the website has a donate tab with options for varying monthly donations for those desiring to join the Camp Hope cause. The Camp Hope team anticipates many vibrant years ahead, growing as a thriving community resource, empowering area youth toward bright futures.