Since 1989, HFH Summer Camps has brought up to 1,000 homeless children from New York City to camp every summer.
HFH Camps Lanowa and Wakonda are located an hour north of New York City, on the grounds of the 52,000 acre Harriman State Park. A lush preserve of woodland and lakes straddling New York’s Rockland and Orange counties, the park has over 200 miles of hiking trails, 31 lakes and reservoirs, camping grounds, beaches, and an abundance of wildlife.
HFH campers are representative of the 23,000 children who live in New York City’s homeless family shelter system. They range from six to thirteen years of age, and the majority are African-American and Latino. All but a few come from families who receive some form of public assistance. Homelessness places profound stress on a child’s life. Before entering a shelter, a family usually lives doubled-up with friends or relatives. These families move at least twice, and up to four times a year, during this period of transition. Homelessness also detrimentally affects mental and physical health: almost a third of all homeless children suffer from asthma and many report feelings of depression.
Camps Lanowa and Wakonda provide children with a true summer camp experience:
- Hiking and exploring on wooded trails
- Swimming and boating in a mountain lake
- Singing and telling stories around a campfire
- Sleeping in tents and cabins
- Reflecting on the sights and sounds of a new environment