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 2018 program, Bridging the Gap, 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 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.

Summer 2018 Theme: Bridging the Gap

Things today happen at such a fast rate. Technological advancements, population growth, medical discoveries, and environmental engineering are but a few areas where progress has both a positive and negative impact. Teaching children to be mindful and aware will help bridge the gap and create a future generation who care about community and desire to have a positive impact on our EARTH its PEOPLE, and its ANIMALS. (View a Sample Schedule)

Week One: Water, Water, Everywhere - EARTH WEEK (July 9 - July 13, 2018)

Water is everywhere – even in places we cannot see it, like within ourselves and beneath our feet under the ground. Water comprises three-quarters of our Earth’s surface and three-quarters of the human body, and is a major component in every human cell. Water removes toxins from the body, provides electrolytes, and can even assist with fat loss. But most importantly, a person cannot survive without water and neither can our planet. During EARTH week, campers will understand the connection between the water they can see and touch and the water they cannot, and how water is a major component of all of us and how our daily lives and the world depends on it. The connection between air and water will also be explored. CHH campers will learn that water is a vital, natural resource threatened by pollutants and what they can do to help protect it for the greater good of our planet and all living things. CHH service partners and presenters this week will include the Ventura County Watershed Protection District and Hills Canyon Watershed Treatment Plant. Campers will observe two distinct local watersheds to learn about what they are, why they are important, and what we can do to maintain clean and healthy watersheds. CHH campers will remove invasive plants and other debris and will also take a behind-the-scenes tour of the Hill Canyon Watershed Treatment Plant. In addition to our two service-learning field trips and service projects, campers will also swim, play sports activities and games, sing songs, do arts and crafts projects, and much more.

Week Two: Bridging Generations - PEOPLE WEEK (July 16 - July 20, 2018)

Time flies, and before we can even blink we are all grown up with kids of our own and often caring for our elderly parents. As we strive to age gracefully and live longer, we also hope to remain an integral part of our family and community. Due to medical advances and other modern discoveries, most people are living longer than ever before. The average life expectancy in the U.S today is 78.7, and in 1912 (100 years ago) it was 53. As people lead healthier, longer lives, our aging population grows to comprise a larger segment of our community. Our elders are living libraries of wisdom and knowledge, and this resource should be shared, not lost. Sometimes, however, a large range in age spans creates a generation gap. As a result, our children may find our parents to be boring, and our parents may not understand why so many young people spend so much time on computers. During PEOPLE week, CHH will work toward bridging the generation gap by partnering with retirement centers and senior day care facilities. CHH campers will be paired with senior counterparts with whom they will share stories, games, memories and dreams. Through this process, CHH campers will understand whether one is old or young, we all cry, laugh, make mistakes, and need to feel loved and needed. They will also see how the quality of life is enhanced when all generations work together. Service field trips and presenter this week will include Ágeis Living of Ventura, Senior Concerns in Thousand Oaks, the Goebel Center in Thousand Oaks, and a fifty-five and older residential community in Camarillo where campers will play games, make crafts, and dance with their senior friends. Campers and seniors together will also prepare baskets for delivery to the elderly within the community who are house bound. Basket contents will include necessities as well as homemade crafts and baked goods. In addition to our two service-learning field trips and service projects, CHH campers will also swim, play sports activities and games, sing songs, do arts and craft projects, and much more.

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

Animals can be a source of unconditional love and affection for people, and naturally we think they are so cute and cuddly that we just want to give love and affection back. ANIMAL week, CHH campers will learn how restoring animals back to health can begin an incredible, reciprocal process of give and take as the healed animals move on to become healing agents for human growth and positive change. For so many people, young and old, animals have helped them gain the confidence and skills needed to improve their lives. CHH campers will gain an appreciation and compassion for all living things as they work with CHH service partners and presenters The Gentle Barn, Ride On, and Therapy Dogs, Inc. With a trip to The Gentle Barn, campers will see and hug farm animals that have been rehabilitated back to health, and they will feel firsthand how nurturing interaction with farm animals can be. At Ride On, CHH campers will groom and feed the horses, help clean their stables, and tidy the barnyard as they learn how these magnificent creatures can help heal and nourish people with special needs through therapeutic horsemanship. Service projects this week will include baking horse biscuits, making carrot totes out of recycled jeans for The Gentle Barn horses, constructing toys for chickens, and much more. In addition to our two service-learning field trips and service projects, CHH campers will also swim, play sports activities and games, sing songs, do arts and craft projects, and much more.

Week Four: Building Bridges - COMMUNITY WEEK (July 30 - August 3, 2018)

During COMMUNITY week, campers will bridge the gap as they work with organizations that serve to better our earth, its people, and its animals. Partners and presenters this week will include: Best Friends LA, a no-kill animal shelter; Los Angeles Eco-village, a self-sustaining residential community; Union Rescue Mission, a Los Angles-based rescue mission; and The National Federation Of The Blind. In addition to our two service-learning field trips and service projects, campers will also swim, play sports and games, sing camp songs, and make arts and crafts.

*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