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 for an additional fee. 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 2018 program, Serving What Serves Us, will run from July 9 through August 3. 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, 13, and 14 year-old’s who have not yet completed 9th grade). 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.

*Activities, field trip destinations, and service partners are subject to change.

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 2018 Theme: Serving What Serves Us

This summer campers will work to support those who protect and serve our community so that our lives can be lived freely, prosperously, and to the best of our abilities. (View a Sample Schedule)

Week One: Serving the Land - EARTH WEEK (July 9 - 13, 2018)

During Earth week, campers will learn all about land conservation as we team up with park service naturalists and rangers and go behind-the-scenes to catch a glimpse of how their work helps support one of our most valuable natural resources – land. Partners this week will include the National Park Service, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority, Conejo Valley Open Space, Ventura County, and Ormond Shores. Field trips this week will be to the Santa Monica Mountains and to Ormond Shores in Oxnard. Activities will include, performing onsite service tasks during our Tuesday and Thursday field trips, playing sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and more.

Week Two: People Who Serve - PEOPLE WEEK (July 16 - 20, 2018)

This summer, PEOPLE week’s focus is on those who dedicate their lives to serving and protecting others locally, nationally, and internationally. For this week’s program, CHH has partnered with organizations that support the needs of veterans, deployed military personnel, and their families. We will also go behind-the-scenes with our local police force and fire department to learn more about how these local heroes protect and serve. Field trips this week will be to For the Troops in Simi Valley, the Geobel Senior Center in Thousand Oaks, and to our local Fire Station 34. Activities will include working with our local senior center to make cards for our firefighters and police force, performing onsite service tasks during our Tuesday and Thursday field trips, playing sports and games, swimming, and making crafts.

Week Three: Animals that Serve - ANIMAL WEEK (July 23 - July 27, 2018)

ANIMAL week is all about animals that have been raised and trained to help serve humans in need. Guide Dogs of America will bring puppies in training to camp, providing an opportunity for campers to learn all about raising a guide dog, what characteristics and breeds make good guide dogs, and what it’s like to be led by a guide dog. There will also be time for snuggling and petting. Other service animals visiting camp this week may include K9 dogs and therapy dogs from Paws4Healing. Field trips this week will include a day of service at Great Spirits Ranch where campers will experience the beautiful, 18-acre, Malibu facility as they learn all about how this ranch serves our community. Our older campers will also visit the Guide Dogs of America facility in Sylmar, while our younger campers will trek out to The Gentle Barn. Activities will include making needed items for our service partners, performing onsite service tasks during our Tuesday and Thursday field trips, playing sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and more.

Week Four: Serving Ourselves to Serve Others - COMMUNITY WEEK (July 30 - August 3, 2018)

For COMMUNITY week this summer, we are going to explore the self. Mahatma Ghandi once said, “The best way to find yourself, is to lose yourself in the service of others.” As we learn about helping others, animals and the Earth, we must also take time to explore ourselves and our own needs, especially as we expand our sense of self through service. We must not think of self care as selfish, but rather a way to help us build and maintain strength so we can continue to serve others and our community. This week, campers will explore the mind and the body and will experience movement, meditation, and ways to nourish a healthy self through examining what we eat to how we think and to what we do. Service trips and partners will include SEEAG (a farm lab), DewCoach Fitness, Cheerforce Gymnastics, and a variety of presenters who will lead movement, yoga, sound therapy sessions, and more. In connection with Cheerforce, campers will participate in a “Change for Change” coin drive, for donation to the Amanda McPhearson Foundation, which supports special needs programs in our schools and sports programs in the local community. Campers will also enjoy sports and games, making crafts, swimming, 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* is offered at a bulk package rate of $1650. Fees include:

  • fees for all service field trips (two per week);
  • fees for all onsite presentations (two to three per week);
  • snack** served twice daily and includes fresh, organic produce from Good Life Organics;
  • fees for recreational swim (campers swim on Tuesdays and Thursdays);
  • a camp t-shirt;
  • transportation for all field trips and swim excursions. Transportation provided by Durham School Services

*One-week sessions are very limited. Cost per one-week session is $450.

**Parents must provide lunch daily.


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 aftercare.

Extended Care Rates:

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

  • Late Pick-up (3:00 to 6:00PM) = $20 per child per day


For parents who need transportation to and from camp, a commuter bus is available. It stops in Woodland Hills at the MacDonald’s on 23340 San Luis, and at the Millie’s in Van Nuys on 16840 Vanowen Street. The commuter bus costs $125 per week per camper.