Camp Helping Hands (Northridge)

Location: Highland Hall Waldorf School
17100 Superior Street, Northridge, CA 91325

Highland Hall boasts 11-acres of green space, wooded areas and a small working farm. A true valley oasis!

*Commuter bus available with stops in Woodland Hills and Van Nuys. 

Camp Helping Hands is a four-week program* that provides fun and educational service-learning opportunities within several different segments of our community. Each summer program has an overarching theme, and each week of programming supports that theme. Our 2017 program, Together We Can Make a Difference, will run from July 10 through August 4. For CHH campers to receive the full benefits of service-learning we encourage parents to embrace this four-week approach. In addition to each week’s service projects** and field trips, CHH campers also swim, play sports activities and games, sing songs, do arts and craft projects, and much more.

CHH places campers according to age into four age groups: Junior Helpers (6 and 7), Young Advocates (8 and 9), Super Agents (10 and 11), and Chief Aides (12 and 13***). Each group contains 15 to 20 campers and is led by three to four counselors who guide them through age appropriate activities. Chief Aides, our oldest age group, are Jr. Counselors-in-Training (Jr. CIT’s). In addition to participating in camp activities like our younger campers, they assist by helping our younger campers when needed.

*One-week session registration options are available.
**Activities, field trip destinations, and service partners are subject to change.
***Campers 14 years of age entering their freshman year in high school can also participate in the Jr. CIT program.

Meet the Northridge Camp Director

Diane 2

Diane Ortega

Diane has been a kindergarten teacher for the past 26 years at Highland Hall Waldorf School, where the curriculum carefully balances academic, artistic, and practical activities to stimulate the imagination and prepare students as thoroughly as possible for the future. She graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree in Recreation and Leisure Studies from California State University, Northridge and has extensive experience working in day camps as well as designing, organizing, and running the Early Childhood Day Camp at Highland Hall for three summers. In her spare time, Diane loves to go camping with her three daughters, taking hikes with her dogs, and curling up on the couch with a good book. Diane can’t wait to bring her knowledge and enthusiasm to the Camp Helping Hands program.

Summer 2017 Theme: Together We Can Make a Difference

There is no act of kindness too small. Any gesture, small or large, given with love and compassion can make a huge impact and positive difference in the community and oneself. Mother Teresa once said, “Not all of us can do great things, but we can do small things with great love.” This summer at Camp Helping Hands, campers will learn the true meaning of giving small and how large serving others feels when something given with love finds true purpose. (View a sample schedule)

Week One: Food Recovery and Permaculture - EARTH WEEK (July 10 - 14, 2017)

During EARTH week, campers will learn about permaculture and gleaning and how both methods of food growing and collection can help feed our community. With service partners Food Forward and Food Share, campers will glean private properties and public spaces to recover excess fruits and vegetables. 100% of what they harvest will be donated to local direct service agencies like week two service partner the Children’s Hunger Fund. With the Los Angeles Eco-village, a sustainable cooperative residential neighborhood, campers will visit, work, and learn the basics of permaculture, how to lessen their ecological footprint, and why food security is important for sustainable urban living. All this as they get their hands dirty planting start seeds, seasonal seeds, prune, and harvest what is in the garden. Other activities this week include sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and singing camp songs.

Week Two: Food Banks and Rescue Missions - PEOPLE WEEK (July 17 - 21, 2017)

PEOPLE week service partners include the Children’s Hunger Fund and the Union Rescue Mission. On Monday, a representative from Children’s Hunger Fund and the San Fernando Rescue Valley Mission will visit camp to teach campers about what they do, who they serve, and what campers will do during their Tuesday and Thursday field trips. On Tuesday, at the Children’s Hunger Fund Warehouse and Food Bank campers will sort, measure bulk items, organize, and help stock the pantry as needed. They may even help sort the food they harvested with their own hands during the EARTH week gleaning project with Food Share and Food Forward. On Thursday, campers will go to the Union Rescue Mission where they will tour the facility, learn about the homeless epidemic in Los Angeles, and the many ways in which we can help improve the situation. Campers will help sort and organize toys and books in the family recreation room. Other activities this week include sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and singing camp songs.

Week Three: Apes, Monkeys and More - ANIMAL WEEK (July 24 - July 28, 2017)

During ANIMAL week, campers will learn about exotic species and ways we can help protect these animals. On Monday, Animal Tracks will visit Highland Hall to show off and teach campers all about exotic animals, their habitats, and what it is like to rescue and care for them. On Tuesday, campers will field trip out to service partner site the Gibbons Center where they will observe the rarest groups of apes in the Western hemisphere. While at the center, campers will provide service by doing grounds-keeping to help prepare the Gibbons Center for fire season. Our other service field trip will be to Animal Tracks, Inc., where campers will help feed the animals, perform other service as needed, and will learn how the animals were rescued and rehabilitated. They will also learn how important their survival is for our ecosystem and the changes that occur as population rises and lowers. Other activities this week include sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and singing camp songs.

Week Four: The Living Ecosystem - COMMUNITY WEEK (July 31 - August 4, 2017)

Most plants and animals live in areas with very specific climate conditions that enable them to thrive. During COMMUNITY week, campers will learn about how certain plants, insects, and animals impact our ecosystems and what they can do to help protect their environment. Campers will get the opportunity to pet different reptiles including, turtles and tortoises, snakes, lizards, and more when the Reptile Rescue of Orange County visits Highland Hall with over 20 different species of reptiles and insects. During the presentation, campers will learn about the reptiles’ natural habitats and what impact they have on the ecosystem. Campers will also meet Bridget Kelley, Highland Hall’s farm educator, who will teach about the importance of bees for balancing our ecosystem. For service, campers will visit Topanga Creek and participate in a creek clean up, and also visit the Valley Hive where they will learn all about beekeeping and provide service where needed. Other activities this week include helping out on the Highland Hall farm, sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and singing camp songs.


*Partners and field trip destinations are subject to change.

Rates and Packages

Camp Helping Hands runs from 9:00AM to 3:00PM, Monday through Friday, for a total of four weeks. The four-week program rate is a bulk package rate of $1120 for campers ages 6 through 11. For our 12, 13 and 14 year old campers who take part in our Jr. Counselor-in-Training (Jr. CIT) program, the four-week bulk rate is $695. Fees include a per camper, monetary donation to each service partner provider and presenter, healthy and tasty snacks (served twice daily), and transportation for all field trip expeditions. An additional fee, which varies from location to location, will apply if you chose to have your child participate in the recreational swim program on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.

  • One-week sessions are limited. Cost per one-week session is $350 / $215 (Jr. CIT program).
  • Parents must provide lunch daily. Morning snacks provided by Good Life Organics, and will include organic, fresh-picked fruit and vegetables.
  • Field trip transportation provided by Durham School Services. All field trip and transportation fees are included.


For parents who need early drop-off and late pick-up options, we offer an extended care package. Campers enjoy games, arts and crafts, and outdoor activities during morning care and the later half of aftercare. During our aftercare program from 3:00 to 6:00PM, our aftercare partner and provider, Enrichment Planet, will engage campers in a multitude of physical and artistic activities. Enrichment Planet offerings will change daily and may include, circus and aerial arts, skateboarding, cooking, archery, and more.

  Extended Care Rates:

  • Early Drop-off (7:30 to 9:00AM) = $10 per child per day

  • Late Pick-up (3:00 to 6:00PM) = $30 per child per day (fees cover class offerings and full program provided by Enrichment Planet)