Camp Hope: The Brionna Martin Story

Meet Brionna. She and I have known each other for ten years, and when we met, I saw immediately that she was one of the strongest women I knew. She was twelve. Brionna was a camper in the Camp Hope Series my first year as a counselor in 2006, which is when I took this picture.

Brionna and El Jay

I have had the pleasure of watching her grow up and stay connected with the mission of the place we love so much. This is her story.

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11

This scripture is my life. This scripture is my story.

10 years, 7 months, 2 days

552 weeks and 3 days

3,867 days

92,808 hours

334,108,800 seconds

Those are the minutes, hours, days, weeks, and years that seem to have flown by since my abuse. Some days are great; some days are hard. But every day I find hope. I find hope in some of life’s simplest pleasures like Sonic’s 89 cent corndogs or Chic-fil-a’s chicken biscuits. I find hope in the laughter of children who have yet to be burdened with the terrible things of this world. I find hope on back roads with the window down on warm summer nights. I find hope every time I finish another semester of college. Hope to me is the small voice in my head that reminds me that better days are ahead. Hope reminds me that I am not alone. Hope reminds me of God’s unfailing promises to guide us, lead us, and never forsake us. As a child who experienced so much abuse mentally, physically, and emotionally, I promote hope. Hope for anyone who ever felt depressed, alone, confused, or defeated. Hope for children, adults, woman, men, Christians, sinners. We are all one and the same, heavily affected by the things of this world.

One thing that I firmly believe is that hope is a beautiful thing, which is why I strongly believe that Camp Hope is such wonderful place for children. Camp Hope is a camp for children who are broken, abused, hurting, and come from various backgrounds. At Camp Hope the children are surrounded with love and constantly remind that they are not alone. For me personally, Camp Hope is the place where I met some of my best friends. It was and still is the place I look forward to attending every summer. It is my home away from home. Camp Hope is a camp that combines fun, therapy, friendships, God, love, and nature and brings them together so flawlessly. Camp Hope was the place where many walls were broken down, and my soul was fed with the word of God. Hope is such a simple four letter word that means so much. That’s why I have chosen to spend the rest of my life helping others find that hope. For ten years I have had some affiliation with Lakeshore and Camp Hope because I strongly believe that it has made an amazing impact on my life and has served as a reminder of God’s thoughts to give us a future and a hope. As an adult I now serve in a leadership role at Elementary Camp Hope, where I get to love and minister to children who remind me so much of myself. Children who want nothing more than to be reminded that there is hope. And that they are not defined by the things that happen to them. I believe in Hope.

Brionna now

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the LORD, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope. – Jeremiah 29:11




3 thoughts on “Camp Hope: The Brionna Martin Story

  1. Brionna, I’m just as inspired by your hopefulness today as I was when we met what I guess was 10 years ago (ah, time flies!)! Thank you for sharing your story, your strength, and your hopefulness with so many of us – counselors and campers – over the years. I think of you and all the other amazing young women I’ve met through Camp Hope often and hope you are doing well, my friend.

    • Hey, yes I am doing well. It is crazy that it has been 10 years already time sure does fly by. Camp Hope is very near and dear to my heart and I am so proud to say I have met so many wonderful people. I hope you are doing well also. Thank you so much for your kind words. I love hearing from and catching up with old friends.

  2. Pingback: Camp Hope Series: Director’s Cut | Lakeshore Camp and Retreat Center

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