Camp Discovery started in Bucks County in 1988 as an outreach program from a small church that owns the Deer Park Campground on Lower Mountain Road. The mission was based on a national program called Camp Opportunity that supported children from neglected and abused home situations. The "miracle" of the Camp Opportunity model program is to recruit local teenagers to be one-on-one counselors for children 8 to 11 years old who grow up in difficult life situations and are often unable to participate in other summer programs due to behavior or other issues. Camp Discovery fills a void that other summer programs in the Philadelphia area have been unable to meet. We provide individualized attention for each camper by placing a teen-aged counselor in a role as the mature "big brother" or "big sister."
The goal of Camp Discovery is to positively impact the personal and social development of youth in Bucks County and surrounding areas by providing one-to-one supportive relationships focused on the individual needs of underprivileged children. Each year we invite up to 40 campers, both boys and girls, without cost to their families/foster families. Children referred to the program by several social work agencies are paired with volunteers for, in many cases, four consecutive summers. We believe that mentoring relationships can help young people cope with difficult circumstances, make progress toward important goals, and prevent significant social, behavior and emotional problems and educational failure. While no quantitative studies have been done, we have observed improvement and development of self-confidence, self-esteem and positive behaviors and attitudes in both camper and counselor alike in just a matter of days.
Everyone involved with Camp Discovery volunteers their time. Staffing includes the Board of Directors, Counselors, and Program Staff. Many of our volunteers start as students from local high schools, with some continuing to help through college and life after. Each person brings his or her own talents to share. The activities offered vary as the talents of the volunteers change. Counselors play a critical role mentoring campers, while the Program Staff work behind-the-scenes and prepare throughout the year. If you are interested in being a part of our family, please Contact Us.
Leaving the Outside World Behind
We encourage counselors and staff members to leave technology (cell phones) and the outside world behind. It is important that we all bring a selfless attitude so that we can each provide undivided attention to the kids. This week is dedicated to helping children feel a sense of love and companionship from someone who cares. We know in this high-tech era that it’s difficult for youth to not be in constant contact with their families and friends via Facebook, texting, or cell phone calls. However, camp is a unique experience. The camp experience helps youth develop life skills including independence and self-reliance. We fully appreciate and respect the positive relationships our campers and counselors have with their families, but if they are to benefit fully from the camp experience, they must be encouraged to develop the skills of independence and self-reliance.
We are always on the move at Camp Discovery! During the day, campers get to choose from activities including sports, science, arts & crafts, swimming etc. Then every evening, we have a special event for the whole camp followed by songs around the campfire. During the week campers even get to sleep in tents under the stars. We are also well fed with three delicious meals a day.