CLU lends a hand to local summer camp

May 7, 2014

Kingsmen Park will be filled with children’s laughter this summer.

Camp Helping Hands (CHH) is coming to California Lutheran University for its annual service learning camp.

CHH marketing intern Erica Gonzalez said that CHH began holding its camp at CLU four years ago.

“Camp Helping Hands was founded by CEO Meredith Cornelius, who also has an organization similar that actually promotes leadership. It is called Women Work Smart. She has a number of endeavors, which she puts her philosophies. She is a strong believer in creating leaders,” Gonzalez said.

Cornelius said her initial plan was to partner with universities to build a program for students to engage in service learning. When that idea didn’t work, she learned that CLU rented out space on campus. It was then that she transformed her business model into a summer camp at CLU.

“CLU was very assessable and very easy to work with. They embrace the idea of service learning and they liked the idea of the camp,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius believes that “kids can make a difference” in the community.

“Camp Helping Hands engages young children as young as six in their community group service, especially privileged children. Our community is a wealthy community and we target those children to come out of their bubble where everything is fine and dandy. They get to see how other people are living,” Cornelius said.

Cornelius was motivated to start CHH from personal experience with her daughter.

“The CEO is a Conejo Valley local and this organization started because she felt her daughter was too spoiled and didn’t know the value of earning her own stuff. She didn’t find a camp that promoted service learning that would teach kids about earning things and how fulfilling it can be,” Gonzalez said.

The camp is three weeks long with a different theme each summer. Each week, a lesson is taught about different communities.

She said students learn about different issues pertaining to the Earth and animals. CHH partners with service groups around the area so children can learn more about each organization. The children go on field trips to do service work for the community, as well.

Vanessa Webster, director of Campus Services at CLU helps organize the camp during summer and said CHH is a good camp to have on campus.

“This camp helps with the sustainability act that we have here, so these kids are preserving the earth which is what everyone should do. Also, it shows that we have other camps besides athletic, music or Shakespeare. We have a camp that is helping people,” Webster said.

According to Webster, CLU has a sustainability act which attempts to make the campus greener. Everybody can do their part simply by walking to locations instead of driving their cars or by using eco-friendly products.
CLU students can also take part in the service learning camp over summer.

“Many of my summer staff members are students at CLU or former students. Throughout the year, I would work with students who are interested with interning and gaining internship credit. The internship role is usually more of a marketing capacity,” said Cornelius.

According to Cornelius, positions for summer jobs and internship are full this summer. However, there will be positions for next year where she will recruit volunteers from the CLU student body.
She also said students can receive more information through Career Services and on CHH’s website at www.camphelpinghands.

 

Dalee Jung
Staff Writer
Published May 7, 2014

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