BATTLE GROUND — At a recent fundraising dinner event held for Camp Hope, an educational youth camp located across the river from Lewisville Park in the Battle Ground area, roughly $27,000 was raised to go toward the Camp Home cause of empowering youth to face life’s challenges through the principles of “trust, truth and unconditional love.”
According to Camp Director Vivian Mattila Walikainen, the community support at the Feb. 2 fundraising event, held at the Battle Ground Community Center, was overwhelming. The evening consisted of updates from Camp Hope, a catered dinner served by Summerland Catering and numerous donated auction items that were bid on by attendees.
Also at the dinner auction, guests were invited to remember what it was like being a child, running through the woods, gathering with friends around campfires, hearing stories told by adults, feeling a sense of belonging and being a part of the larger community.
Mattila Walikainen said that today, Camp Hope has two main functions — the monthly student day camps and a camping facility for day use or overnight camping open to all, sleeping up to 128 people 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,” Mattila Walikainen wrote in a brief write up about the camp. “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.”
Day camp at Camp Hope, Camp Hope Discovery Day Camp, will begin on March 18 and parents wishing to register their children can do so at http://www.camphope-wa.org/day-camp. The day camp is for children ages 10-18 years old. Starting on March 18, camp is held every third Saturday from 9:30 a.m.-3:30 p.m. through November. Cost to attend the day camp is $25 per child or a family rate of $20. There are also full scholarships available for those who need it.
During the Discovery Day Camp, campers will experience river exploration, nature walks, archery, art projects, woodworking, skill-building workshops, scavenger hunts, fire starting, caving, plant identification, hiking, games and lunch. T-shirts can be purchased for $10.
According to the Camp Hope website, the mission of Camp Hope is to “compassionately invest in our youth by providing a safe place for mentoring and teaching.” Education and activities at Camp Hope include archery, disc golf course, survival class, cave exploration, plants and trees, gardening (in season), walking/biking trails, large field for games, slackline, river fishing and swimming, outdoor/indoor camping, stage for performances, big fire pit area, huge sand pile and more.
Camp opportunities include year-round outdoor facility, creative work and play, teaching opportunities, investment partnerships, monthly day camps and more. The year-round facility can be used for field trips and outdoor school, family camps, church groups, day camps, youth organizations, work project opportunities, volunteer service, sports teams and more.
Camp use rates are $7 for adults, $5 for youth 4-18 years old, $25 max per family and $2 per person for day use only.
As far as the future of Camp Hope is concerned, Mattila Walikainen said camp improvements 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. Anyone wishing to donate can do so by going to the Camp Hope website, http://www.camphope-wa.org/donate.
Anyone wishing to volunteer can find out information about how to do so at http://www.camphope-wa.org/volunteer-1. Training for volunteers will take place on March 25 with Curtis Miller, presenting ACEs (adverse childhood experiences) and resilience-building training. Space is available in the training session for $25 per person.
Camp Hope is an educational youth camp located across the river from Lewisville Park. In 2012, after 16 years of non-use, the county leased the property to Camp Hope, a nonprofit 501(c)(3) organization. The camp is located at 12800 Roper Road, in Battle Ground. Contact camp officials at (360) 666-9136 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org. To read more about Camp Hope, visit http://www.camphope-wa.org/.