July 30, 2018

Summer camp is a great place to make new friends, learn something new, and enjoy the outdoors away from home. Thanks to CHP Resident Services, youth at four CHP communities in the New River Valley have experienced just that.

On Monday, June 25, 16 young CHP residents, ages 8-12, attended Craig Springs Nature Camp in New Castle, Virginia, about an hour north of Christiansburg in the Allegheny Mountains. This is CHP’s third year sending campers.

The camp describes its program as “a high-energy week for young campers to learn, sing, swim, enjoy the peace of the mountains, play outdoors, participate in group activities, and be mentored one-on-one by a high school counselor.

For many of the 16 kids, this was their first time at a summer camp and first time away from their families.

Tiffany Slusher, Director of Programs for CHP Resident Services, noted, “It’s an extremely valuable opportunity for them to gain a sense of independence and spend time surrounded by their peers in nature.

Resident service coordinators across the four properties that attended—Linden Green, Cedar Crest, Meadowview, and Linden Grove—actively promoted the camp opportunity to their young residents and explained the program to parents.

The camp, which was provided to CHP residents at no expense, partners residents with a counselor to serve as their mentor for five days. The counselors teach and model conflict resolution, participation, and cooperation while having fun.

“This was a chance for them to make new friends, try new things, and realize that in the end the whole experience was really awesome,” Slusher said. “Hopefully it will open their eyes and encourage them to do similar things moving forward in life.”

Craig Springs Camp and Retreat Center offers camps for a variety of ages and interests, like Diversity Camp, a summer camp for LGBTQ+ individuals, and Special Camp, an opportunity for campers with intellectual and physical disabilities from across the region to enjoy a welcoming, supportive, and accepting camping experience.