‘Camp GOBHI’ begins
Behavioral health nonprofit launches Wraparound program youth camp
Every youth should get the opportunity to experience summer camp, regardless of barriers they face in everyday life.
That belief helped inspire Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc. to hold its first ever “Camp GOBHI” event in July.
The three-day camp brought together youth participants in the GOBHI Columbia County Wraparound program. Several dozen campers — ranging from ages 6-18 — took a 20-mile trip from the GOBHI St. Helens office to Camp Wilkerson.
Through nature, campers learned about the importance of trust, teamwork and self-expression.
Jamie Hamsa, GOBHI Wraparound Program Manager, described the camp as a secluded, safe place for youth to express themselves and take healthy risks.
“We wanted to give these youth a positive experience in a place where they can create a healthy, positive connection with caring adults and peers,” Hamsa said.
“That’s why we looked to the outdoors, knowing we had to take technology out of the picture. It’s all about helping them establish a connection with nature — and a space that’s all their own.”
Wraparound is an intensive, team-based planning process that follows a series of steps to help children, young adults, and their families accomplish their family vision. The voluntary program serves youth who may have complex behavioral health needs.
GOBHI, a nonprofit managed behavioral health organization, is an Oregon Health Plan administrator for Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization and Columbia Pacific CCO. It also offers direct services like Wraparound, Therapeutic Foster Care and Applied Behavioral Analysis.
About 30 GOBHI staff members teamed up to chart “Camp GOBHI” logistics and make it a reality. Camp instructors led students in a series of rotating group activities and various stations enhancing youths’ connection to mind, body, spirit, nature and peers.
Crafts, athletics, and creative activities abounded.
Camper safety was a top priority for GOBHI when the organization took on this endeavor. Participants were assigned an animal group to ensure staff supervision and to give campers emotional safety in building trusting peer relationships that might continue after camp.
June Longway, camp nurse, cared for campers at a specialized medical tent. She noted the program was a success, in which all participants’ health needs were covered. SAFE of Columbia County Executive Director, Ellyn Bell, volunteered her time and skills as a Certified Trauma Informed Yoga Instructor.
Local Columbia County businesses generously donated meals and supplies to the program, including: The Bread Store, Columbia River Food Bank, Dahlgren’s, IGA, Pacific Stainless Products, Safeway, and Stano Chiropractic.
“We are grateful to have such caring staff and community members willing to put in the hard work to have made this undertaking possible,” Hamsa said. “You can’t always correlate preventative community based programs in making a difference, but we can only hope our positive intentions made
an impact for youth that attended camp.”
Greater Oregon Behavioral Health, Inc., headquartered in The Dalles, is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that is a National Committee for Quality Assurance accredited Managed Behavioral Healthcare Organization and is charged with administering all or part of the behavioral health Medicaid benefit in 17 rural and frontier counties in Oregon. GOBHI is a co-owner of the Eastern Oregon Coordinated Care Organization, and is responsible for the administration and oversight of behavioral health services for Columbia Pacific CCO.