Camp Helping Hands (Thousand Oaks)

Location: California Lutheran University
60 West Olsen Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91360

Campers have access to green space, playing fields, courtyards, multiple classrooms, and the small swimming pool adjacent to dorms.

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, Living: Our Place in the World, 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 Thousand Oaks Camp Director

Amanda Stevens

Amanda has dedicated her life to working with children, teens, and adults to help them achieve healthier life styles. As a youth gymnastics instructor and program director, she had the opportunity to teach hundreds of children in the community the importance of setting goals and hard work. Amanda has also been a NASM certified personal trainer for over eight years, and currently she volunteers as a trainer for local moms’ groups in the community to help bring families together in a fun and healthy way. When Amanda heard about Camp Helping Hands and the philosophy behind Meredith’s ideas, she knew it was something with which she wanted to be a part. Camp Helping Hands has been one of the best experiences for Amanda thus far. She enjoys witnessing the joy that helping others brings our campers, and can often be found with tears in her eyes after hearing the campers share their experiences from their service trips.

Living: Our Place in the World

Through projects and service trips, campers will learn that everything has a place in the world, and everyone has a responsibility to do their part to ensure the health of our community. Specific exploration will be in the areas of conservation, helping fight hunger, and responsible care and protection of animals. (View a sample schedule)

Week One: Sustainability and Resource Conservation- EARTH WEEK (July 10 - July 14, 2017)

For EARTH week, CHH campers will work with The Las Virgenes Municipal Water District at their Rancho Las Virgenes Composting Facility and the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy to see first hand how these organizations work to provide a cleaner, safer, more beautiful and more bountiful community through resource conservation and sustainable efforts. At the Rancho Las Virgenes Compost Facility campers will take a behind-the-scenes tour of the facility to see how the treatment plant transforms biosolid waste into exceptional quality compost, an environmentally beneficial disposal for biosolids that have been removed from wastewater during treatment. This day will be combined with a watershed beach clean up. Working with the Ojai Valley Land Conservancy, CHH campers will tour Ojai Meadows Preserve then will do a clean-up and restoration project to help the native species and animals thrive in a robust ecosystem. Other activities this week include sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and singing camp songs.

Week Two: Helping to Fight Hunger - PEOPLE WEEK (July 17 - July 21, 2017)

For PEOPLE week, campers will work with Food Share and the Food Share community garden to learn the importance of healthy eating, why sustainable, organic gardening is important, and how local volunteers maintain the garden so it can help feed over 74,500 families in Ventura County. Campers will work in the Food Share Garden, which produces hundreds of pounds of lettuce, tomatoes, garlic, cabbage, broccoli, cilantro, peppers, cucumbers, and other vegetables and fruits for distribution to local charities that serve those in need. At Food Share, they also will visit the Warehouse where thousands of meals are packaged every day for families in need, and they will participate in a hunger banquet, which will encourage an open discussion and role playing activity about what it might be like to suffer from hunger. Campers will also learn about our very own Thousand Oaks food pantry, Manna, when they meet with Manna volunteers Monday. CHH will be holding a canned food drive for donation to Manna food bank. Other activities this week include sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and singing camp songs.

Week Three: Wildlife Conservation and Domestic Animal Rescue - ANIMAL WEEK (July 24 - July 28)

During ANIMAL week, CHH campers will learn about animal wildlife protection and the role of responsible pet ownership as they travel to the Ventura County Animal Shelter in Camarillo and the Moorpark College Teaching Zoo. At both facilities, CHH campers will meet with zoologists, veterinarians, and creatures of all varieties to learn about the different ways in which they can help improve the lives of strays and minimize environmental impact so that endangered species stand a better chance. At camp, CHH campers will practice reducing waste by making tug toys and catnip satchels from used clothing for the dogs and cats they will visit at the shelter, and will make decorated towels for bedding for the exotic animals living at the Moorpark College Teaching Zoo. CHH campers will also have the opportunity to see (and touch) native wildlife up close when the Wildlife Learning Center comes to CHH. This presentation will include locally rescued wildlife and focus on endangered animals native to California. Campers will learn what dangers these animals face in the wild, and what we can do to help them survive. Other activities this week include sports and games, swimming, making crafts, and singing camp songs.

Week Four: On the Move Migration - COMMUNITY WEEK (July 31 - August 4, 2017)

During COMMUNITY week this summer, campers will explore the phenomenon of migration, both forced and voluntary, and the affect plants, people, and animals from other places have on our local community. Climate change, urban development, exploration, and socio-economic conditions may propel some form of migration. How plants, animals, and people adapt to their new community and ecosystem is what we will explore, along with how places and ecosystems evolve and adjust to support diversity. Campers will work with Community Roots Garden to learn about the life of a seed, how seeds and plants migrate, and how the life of a migrant farm worker can coincide with plant migration as well as other factors leading to emigration. With the Audubon Society, campers will work with a bird expert at the Malibu Lagoon for a bird watching experience. They will learn about the hundreds of thousands of bird species that migrate through the lagoon every year, and ways to help conserve the land and protect these species as they offer their services this day. Presenting partners this week include organizations that help transition refugees, immigrants and migrant farm workers. Other activities this week include 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)