If you believe the research, there is a high probability that Cady (not her real name) will become a statistic like her mother. Camp HOPE America wants to change that. One-third of children who experience domestic violence are likely to be victims themselves, and another third will grow up to be abusers.
During her week at Camp HOPE America in Memphis last summer, Cady had fun with new friends and found comfort in meeting children with similar life experiences… children trying hard to separate their dreams for the future from the tragedy that has dogged them so far. The days are filled with typical camp fun and games, but there is plenty of time for serious discussions about coping with stress, sharing feelings, and healthy relationships.
“I just try not to think about what happened that much and have fun,” Cady told a journalist at camp last summer.
Teaching children to cope with their trauma and be hopeful about their future is one of the key goals of FSC’s Camp HOPE America, TN. According to experts, children who are resilient are less likely to fall into the trap of a violent relationship. Cady’s mother was trapped throughout her seven-year marriage before she finally decided to leave and sought a restraining order against her estranged husband. It was too late. In the fall of 2014, her husband showed up at the day care where she worked in Whitehaven and killed her.
Over 200 clients seek help from FSC each month. For the children caught in the middle, the scars can last a lifetime. Camp HOPE is a chance to break that cycle.
At least for Cady, it seems to be helping. She looks forward to attending Camp HOPE this summer and is already thinking of coping skills she can share with first-time campers this year, says her grandmother. “She is looking forward to when she can contribute to others and help them learn coping skills,” she says. “She understands that the best way to continue learning is to stay involved.”