Homelessness takes a terrible toll on children. Many experience problems in their health, social development and education later in life as a result of the traumas they’ve endured.
To help homeless girls and boys overcome these challenges — and to provide respite from the grinding boredom and sweltering heat of the shelter system in the summer — the Coalition launched Camp Homeward Bound (CHB) in 1984.
Every summer, CHB holds three 16-day sessions with 120 campers per session. Campers range in age from seven to 15, with older kids able to return as Counselors-in-Training and Junior Counselors. Camp seamlessly blends engaging activities that foster literacy, problem-solving and critical thinking skills with active, recreational fun like hiking, swimming, sports, dance and so much more. We take full advantage of the beautiful environment by providing a variety of adventures that are likely new to children growing up in the NYC shelter system — biking along nature trails, harvesting vegetables in the garden, telling stories around a blazing campfire.
Nearly 40 percent of our campers have endured physical abuse or neglect and have emotional or behavioral issues exacerbated by the instability of homelessness. CHB’s Behavioral Specialist and strong academic component help campers address any emotional and educational deficits so they develop the tools needed to catch up with their peers at school. Campers read books, explore the world of science and computers, create art and music, and participate in a wide array of recreational activities that encourage teamwork, responsibility, self-expression and social interaction.
CHB gives these wonderful girls and boys the chance to grow, learn, play, make friends — and just be kids again.
CHB counselors and staff come from all over the world, bringing their unique cultures and experiences to share. After an intensive week of training, staff live and work together for the 10-week summer season, building lasting friendships, learning valuable skills and creating unforgettable memories. Ongoing supervision helps them properly respond to the needs of our campers and develop as mentors and teachers.