Operated by the Arc of Essex County, Camp Hope is a seven week summer day camp for children and adults with intellectual and developmental disabilities. Children as young as age 5 can attend. Campers over the age of 21 can continue to participate in our adult camping experience.
The staff at The Arc of Essex County and Camp Hope work very hard to ensure that your family member will have a successful summer. In that effort, all new campers must fill out an extensive camp application that provides the detailed information necessary for a successful summer. Additionally, all new campers must meet with one of our seasoned camp administrators for an in-person camp intake. During this meeting we discuss your child’s specific needs, and review the Camp Hope application and program in greater detail.
Camp Hope offers a variety of activities to keep campers engaged and entertained throughout the day. All campers have an opportunity to participate in daily scheduled activities such as Music, Sports, Science, Nature, Arts and Crafts, as well as Swimming in our zero-entry pool. Campers also have an opportunity to play in our splash pad and playground that were recently installed in 2017. Throughout the summer, campers participate in a variety of special events such as a Talent Show, Carnival, Car Wash, and Themed Dances. Take a look at our monthly calendar to see what is in store for this summer. click here
The camp employs lifeguards to supervise the campers swimming in the pool. On the camper’s first day a swim test will be conducted by the lifeguards to determine if the camper can swim independently or if a life jacket is needed. If the determination that a life jacket is required, the camp will provide an approved floatation device best suited for your camper. While Camp Hope does not offer swim lessons we do work with campers on pool rules, safety and proper pool etiquette (such as not splashing other children who don’t want to be splashed).
Camp is located at 127 Cedar Street East Hanover, NJ. The six acre property is nestled in a residential neighborhood.
The camp staff to camper ratio is determined by your child’s age and their individual needs. Group ratios are as follows:
- Campers ages 5-12 are served in a 1:3 staff-to-camper ratio
- Campers ages 13-20 are served in a 1:5 staff-to-camper ratio
- Campers ages 21+ are served in a 1:6 staff-to-camper ratio
We can also provide one to one support for a limited number of campers.
Each member of the Camp Hope staff goes through an extensive pre-camp training week. Trainings include: CPR/First Aid, working with children with intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, crisis prevention, and universal precautions. Additionally, the staff review individual camp applications to be informed about camper’s specific needs and are trained accordingly.
Camp counselors will send periodic “Notes from Camp Hope” home with your camper. This note will let you know about the activities your family member has been participating in as well as how they are doing at camp. Additionally, on a weekly basis the Camp Hope newsletter is e-mailed to all of our camp families. If at any time you would like to speak with a staff from Camp Hope you can call us during the summer at (973) 515-1200. Since our staff are busy working with your camper it may not be possible to speak with a specific staff member right away, but arrangements can be made for the requested staff to call you at an agreed upon time or at the end of the camp day.
Camp Hope employs a full-time medical professional for the summer to oversee the camp medical program. This professional will provide medical assessment and treatment for minor illnesses and injuries. The camp medical professional is also able to dispense medications during the camp day as needed. Regulations require that the medication be sent to camp in the original labeled container and must include the original prescription in order for the camp nurse to administer medication. For more serious illnesses and/or injuries 911 will be called.
Bus transportation is available for campers who live within Essex County, for an additional fee.
Campers must bring their own lunch to camp on a daily basis. We ask that the lunch be kept in a lunch bag clearly labeled with your camper’s first and last name. Camp Hope will keep lunches refrigerated until it is time to eat. Microwaves are available to heat up food as needed. Water is provided to all campers throughout the day. An afternoon snack is also provided on an occasional basis.
Campers should arrive to camp each day with a labeled backpack containing the following:
- Change of clothes
- Hat (optional)
- Personal water bottle (optional)
Please make sure each item is also labeled with your camper’s first and last name.
If you are interested in purchasing Camp Hope merchandise essentials and apparel please click here.
If over the age of 16, and they are able to commit to working for the entire summer, your child may want to consider applying for a job at Camp Hope. Click here to learn more about our employment opportunities.
If your child can not commit to working the whole summer, we have wonderful volunteer opportunities for teens and young adults ages 14 and up. Click here to learn more about our volunteer opportunities.
Camp Hope will hold an open house in June for all new and returning families. During this open house you can meet with some of the staff and see our wonderful facilities. If you want to get a better feel for what camp look likes please visit our Camp Experience page.
The Arc of Essex County is the largest service provider to individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities and their families in and around Essex County, New Jersey. The Arc is committed to fostering achievement through programs, services and supports that ignite a positive, fulfilling and rewarding quality of life. To learn more about the Arc of Essex County here.