Sibling bonds are among life’s most enduring connections — outlasting relationships with our parents and sometimes even our marriages. These relationships are inextricably intertwined with our sense of identity and belonging.
Yet 75 percent of all children in substitute care are separated from one or more of their siblings because many foster families don’t have the room or the resources to care for sibling groups. It is often the last, and most devastating, loss for children who have already been separated from their parents, their home, their school and their community.
To help mend these broken sibling bonds, Hephzibah founded Camp HepSIBah in 2003. Every summer since then, brothers and sisters living in different group, foster or adoptive homes have reunited at this rustic woodland retreat in northern Illinois to create shared childhood memories that they will cherish in the years to come.
For many of the children, Camp HepSIBah is their first summer camp experience. The week is filled with activities such as canoeing, archery, rock climbing, cookouts and gathering around the campfire for songs and s’mores — as well as opportunities for separated siblings to reconnect and form deep emotional bonds that will support and sustain them throughout their lives.
The last night of camp is one of joy tempered by sadness, as all of the children realize that they will soon be separated from their siblings again. But the week has worked its magic: many of the children are inspired to take a more active role in staying in touch with their siblings through letters, emails and phone calls when they return to their group, foster or adoptive homes.
Camp HepSIBah is made possible by private funding from individuals, businesses, corporations and foundations. To learn more about funding this vital program or becoming a corporate or community sibling camp sponsor or volunteer, please contact Development Director Juliet Yera.
**Please check back in Spring, 2017 for revised copies of the Camper Application and Junior Counselor Application.
Your child may be eligible to apply for sibling camp ONLY if you have been contacted by Hephzibah staff.
Junior Counselor Position:
Your child may be eligible to apply for the junior counselor position if they meet the following qualifications:
- Must have been contacted via email by Hephzibah staff to apply
- Must be 15+ (Must be 15 by September 2017)
- Willing to learn and cooperate with other staff.
- Ability to motivate children.
- Enthusiastic, friendly, well developed communication skills.
- Strong desire to work with children in an outdoor setting.
- Experience working with children is preferable.
- Overall positive attitude.
- Salary: $200.00 * (Subject to change based on your job performance!)