KOCO: Oklahoma City center offers camp to help children cope with trauma

By Alexandria Williams 
Published: July 11, 2022

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OKLAHOMA CITY — An Oklahoma City center offers a camp to help children cope with trauma.

Summer camp is a memory that many hold from childhood. For some children, those memories are vital to helping them cope with trauma in their lives.

 “I didn’t realize how big of a problem it was in our city,” said Lindsey Cardone, Kids Hope coordinator. Domestic violence, sexual abuse and human trafficking happen to many families every day in Oklahoma, leaving behind victims of trauma.

“Most people keep it under wraps and that it’s not really a problem but it’s a huge problem for our city,” Cardone said. Oklahoma City’s family justice center called Palomar, helps connect families and children affected with trauma to resources.

“Especially here at Palomar, we’re seeing clients constantly coming in through that walk-in basis but I think by next year our numbers will double,” Cardone said. One of those resources is a week-long camp, Camp Hope, where children can find healthy relationships, heal and enjoy traditional camp activities. Campers enjoy everything from ziplining to swimming to therapeutic bonding activities.

 “While we are at camp, we have three therapists on staff this year to give extra support and as well the camp facility had staff too but also try to have as much fun as possible,” Cardone said.

The staff member KOCO 5 spoke with said one 8-year-old camper symbolized why Palomar is so vital for children in Oklahoma.

“She started to cry and said you really changed my life this week. Providing the opportunity for our kids to heal providing them support. It can change their lives completely,” WHO said.