Camp Hope and Joy is a unique summer camp for young people living with HIV in extreme poverty in the Eastern Dominican Republic. The camp’s mission is to strengthen the life skills of children and adolescents with HIV in a safe, supportive, loving and fun environment, empowering them to face the psychosocial and medical challenges of their condition.
The over-night camp provides nurturing, varied, educational and fun five-day sessions for children ages 6-10, and teens ages 11-16. Campers engage in sports, arts and crafts, nature activities, theater, music, community service, and life skills development. They also explore their strengths, make new friends, and learn about the importance of medication adherence. The emotional benefits of being in a completely stigma-free environment, with other children who are living with the same condition, cannot be overstated.
The camp site in Jarabacoa at the Mount of the Transfiguration camp includes dormitory spaces, activity rooms, a large recreational green space, a cafeteria, and nearby river – a big change of scene for the campers.
The imaginative, engaging program bolsters personal development, self-esteem, and healthy decisions. Camp values – love, respect and security – set the tone. Themes such as “Conquering My Next Goal” (2018), and “I Am a Hero” with a superhero motif (2017) provide a creative framework for each session’s decorations, costumes, and activities. Welcome and closing ceremonies, special evening activities and events such as bazaars, contests, shows, and field trips enhance the daily schedule. To extend the experience, campers receive T-shirts, souvenirs and backpacks filled with school supplies at the end of their session.
There are two adults to each camper; volunteers serve as camp counselors, activity leaders and assistants; a medical team of doctors and nurses onsite provides assistance with medications and individualized support for campers and volunteers. Staff and volunteers for each year’s camp, including Peace Corps volunteers and Clinic staff and students, are carefully recruited and trained in advance of each session, and work together to create the camp ambience and prepare to provide a cohesive, nurturing experience for the children. All obtain a deeper understanding of the social and economic situation of the children, the principles, culture and protocols of the camp; skills to model and lead activities, events and shows; teamwork and intercultural communication, and capacity-building to inspire motivation and resilience.
Camp is the highlight of the year for these children, drawing many returning participants, with graduates serving as role models for healthy behaviors, and some continuing as counselors.
Donations and sponsorships cover the costs of camp site rental, transportation, program development, materials and equipment, nutritious food, trained staff and medical attention. Donations of any amount are welcome and greatly appreciated; 90% of each monetary donation goes directly to camp programs, with 10% covering administration.
You can support the camp with a fully tax-deductible gift sent by credit card or PayPal through this website, or by check mailed to Children’s Global Health Fund at P.O. Box 1562, New York, NY 10009.
If you have any questions about your donation or would like information about the Children’s Global Health Fund, please contact Beth Rosenthal, Managing Consultant, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To learn more about the camp, visit Clínica de Familia’s camp web pages, here.
Your support can change children’s lives.