Camp High Hopes Inc. was founded on December 13, 1985 by a group of community members with the sole purpose of providing a fun week of camp for boys with hemophilia. The founders of Camp were; Barbara Benedict, Carlos Corujo, Dr. Robert Dracker, Dr. Stephen Dubansky, John Forget, Diane Groth, Lori Holmes, Julie & Randy Kloster, Charles Meacci, Mary Overend, Kristine Richardson, and Lori Russell. Without this dedicated group of community members consisting of hemophiliacs, parents of hemophiliacs, and members from the medical community, Camp High Hopes would never have gotten off the ground.
After a year of organizing and fundraising, the first summer camp program was held in 1987 at Camp Goodwill in Chittenango, New York. The campgrounds had an in-ground pool, miniature golf course, archery range, small fishing pond, a teepee, barracks-style housing and an arts & crafts building. What made camp work was the devotion of the staff. The first few years used the theme of Indian tribes, complete with bonfires and Native American story telling. Pranking became a right of passage, as campers would often wake in the morning to find themselves covered in glitter.
In 1991 the camp program moved to the Camp Aldersgate Campgrounds, on the western edge of the Adirondack Park where it has remained ever since. The new campgrounds offered more room, two lakes, cabin-style lodging, a baseball field, a volleyball court, a basketball hoop, a soccer field, numerous fire pits, several locations for overnight tenting or shelter camping, large indoor recreation areas, and boating, while also offering a similar teepee, more fishing, arts & crafts, and both a miniature golf course and actual golf course less than a mile away, making for easy off-site trips. The much more rustic feel became an instant hit.
In the late 1990s and early 2000s Camp Aldersgate began making improvements to their grounds. A new outdoor, paved basketball court to the place of the lone basketball hoop, the dining hall was expanded and updated, a full archery range installed, another 100 acre plot of land was added to the grounds, providing a true out-camp location, and a low ropes course was built. Through all of this, the Camp High Hopes mission and involvement in the community stayed the same.
In the mid 2000s, an independent camp for girls with bleeding disorders started up called Camp Little Oak with several of the Camp High Hopes staff working to help them get off the ground.
Today, the current Board of Directors has a total of over 200 years of Camp High Hopes experience between them. Camp High Hopes truly becomes a second family for the people involved as the majority of the staff at the Summer Camp Program are returning campers who are now counselors. The bonds made at camp really do last for life and the network of friends that get developed quickly become a support system for the entire family.