In June, Max Veltman, associate professor in the School of Nursing, along with Boise State nursing student Kona Estes, and recent nursing alumnus Jake Gere, served as volunteer staff members for Camp Hope Idaho.
Camp Hope Idaho is a specialized summer camp where physically and/or sexually abused children can participate in a weeklong camp and engage in specialized activities to help them deal with some of the many issues with which they often struggle. This is the third year in a row that Boise State nursing students and faculty have worked with this special summer camp.
According to the National Center for Children Exposed to Violence, childhood exposure to violence has a devastating impact on children, affecting emotional growth, cognitive development, physical health and school performance. Exposure to violence at a young age has been significantly linked with increased depression, anxiety, anger, and alcohol and drug abuse, and with decreased academic achievement. Children who experience violence either as victims or as witnesses are at an increased risk of becoming violent themselves. These children are significantly more likely to have involvement with the juvenile justice system, committing crimes at younger ages and nearly twice as often as their peers who have not been similarly exposed to violence.
Camp Hope Idaho is based at Trinity Pines, near Cascade, Idaho. Campers are recruited out of the Nampa Family Justice Center through the center’s connections with counselors and local community shelters. This year 20 campers, ages 10 – 13, were able to participate in many activities seen in most residential summer camps such as hiking, swimming, rafting on the Payette River, rope courses, and zip line activities. Additionally, Camp Hope offers many specialized group and individual activities for campers to help them cope with issues seen in this population.
The vision for Camp Hope is to break the generational cycle of family violence by offering healing and hope to children who are victims of family violence and giving them the opportunity to build relationships with other children with similar experiences. It also provides them with a safe, fun and engaging camping experience.
For more information, about the Nampa Family Justice Center, visit nampafamilyjusticecenter.org. For more information about the National Family Justice Center Alliance, visit familyjusticecenter.org.