How “Camp Discovery” Impacts Children at SERVE and Hilda Barg Shelters

Going to summer camp is a rite of passage for most children, but not every child gets this opportunity. This is particularly so for homeless children, so with support from volunteers, we’re bringing Camp Discovery to them at both the Hilda Barg and SERVE shelters!

At the Hilda Barg shelter, summer campers are enjoying a nature camp every Tuesday led by counselors from The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge and an arts camp every Friday. At SERVE, each week has its own theme, including “Strong, Healthy Me,” eco-friendly art, STEAM topics, music and so much more.

As the kids enjoy summer camp, the campers’ parents have more efficient time to do job searches, arrange interviews, schedule appointments, and submit applications to move their family out of homelessness and into stable housing.

Want to be a part of the Camp Discovery team? There are still opportunities for volunteers to lead camp activities at both Hilda Barg and SERVE. We also have a need for supplies, including, LEGOs, magnets, art supplies, empty bottles, tape and planting soil.

For more information, please contact Julie Martinez at

Our Summer Camp All-Stars

We couldn’t the work that we do without the support of our local community. Here are just a few of the fantastic volunteers and organizations helping to ensure Camp Discovery is a wonderful experience for the children at our shelters.

  • A huge thank you to Liz Fenning, a longtime Hilda Barg volunteer who is dedicating her Friday mornings to host children’s summer camp activities at Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Shelter. Our summer camp has been filled with tons of fun and we look forward to seeing what activities she has in store for the rest of the summer season!
  • The Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge is hosting weekly nature camps for Hilda Barg campers this summer, including field trips to the Wildlife Refuge! Campers went on a nature hike, made plaster molds of animal prints, and learned how to use their five senses to get closer to nature. The staff at the refuge has done a wonderful job engaging with the children, introducing them to new experiences and stimulating their minds. We look forward to learning more about the refuge, and how we can help protect and enjoy the natural environment around us!
  • The Virginia Cooperative Extension has been hosting cooking and nutrition classes for the guests at the Hilda Barg Homeless Prevention Shelter. Adults are learning about balanced, nutritional meals and how to create healthy meals at an affordable cost for the whole family to enjoy! These classes are off to a great start with a 90 percent retention rate, and we’re excited to dive deeper into creating and maintaining healthy lifestyles for the whole family in future sessions.