Twenty-four year old Jennifer's testimonial: 

“With Paul’s help I was able to see that I’m not worthless. I am loved by God and no matter what had happened in the past, I am valuable to Him.  What an amazing experience it was for me to see how important I am to God.  Paul’s example and encouragement didn’t stop with that.  I was also able to work out at camp as well, and the love he has for each person is incredible.  I have seen and heard of other programs similar to New Hope Wilderness Camp, but I have yet to see anyone else with enough love to reach out to each person who comes to camp and to really love and care about them.  Paul not only teaches about love, but exemplifies it in every aspect of his life.”

Twenty-one year old Amanda's testimonial:

There is nothing worse than being stuck in constant despair. Wandering around with your head down, knowing life was falling apart, is not how things are supposed to be. My life had gotten there, though. It had come to the point where I could no longer think about moving forward; from suicide letters, unresolved abuse, self harm, and doing poorly in school, I found myself hopeless. The people around me were worried and decided to take matters into their own hands. After searching many programs and camps, they came across the Griffis Family New Hope Wilderness Camp. Wondering if only 21 days would help, we discussed things and decided we would give it a chance. During those 21 days my life completely changed. I found a peace that I had never experienced before, understood the concept of love and the power it has in my life, healed and forgave those who had hurt me, lost all desire to harm myself, got off 5 medications, and finally realized that there are good people that can be trusted. Paul and Velma transformed my thinking by simply loving the way Christ would love, living what they taught, giving tools for me to use, and most importantly, helping me discover the extent of God's love in my life. They helped me understand that God is a counselor, helper, healer, friend, but most importantly, the perfect Father. To them I thank, from day 1, for touching my life in a way that can't be justified with words. The camp changed my life and offered me with the hope that I can make a difference in the lives of others. I now see myself as a beautiful young lady that deserves to be loved and has a purpose on this earth. God has blessed Paul and Velma with many gifts, but especially with the gifts of love and understanding. If you feel like change can't happen, and life is no longer worth living, I challenge you to take a chance, make a choice, and take the life changing 21 day journey that New Hope Wilderness Camp has to offer.

Dave and Shelia McKinley, parents of Jenna (age 15 at New Hope) from Asheville, NC

I remember the first time my husband and I talked with Paul. I felt so relieved that someone understood how my husband and I felt. We had exhausted all our possibilities until he assured us that he could help Jenna-Leigh. The first few days of camp were really hard for me because of the no contact rule...But I shortly realized that she needed that and so did I.

We trusted Paul and his crew with all our heart. We trusted that God had a plan and He was going to use Paul to help change our daughters Heart. Paul did just that, because after 21 days Jenna-Leigh was on her way to a different outlook on life.

We are forever grateful to Paul and the New Hope wilderness camp for making a difference in all of our lives. After almost 18 months, Jenna-Leigh has continued to seek God in her life and apply some of the principles that she learned while at camp. We believe that Jenna-Leigh's life will forever be affected because of the time she spent at the New Hope wilderness camp. We thank God for Paul and what he did that Summer!

Andrea, age 19 (age 17 at New Hope):

"Paul Griffis's program is the best program and I highly recommend the program to any parent to send their children to. I can say personally that New Hope was the best program for me.  I, as a troubled teen, had a cold hard heart. I was angry at the world and angry with God.  Paul was able to break through my wall and show me what kind of person I really am and what person that God wanted me to be.  I started the program hard and disagreeable with no desire for a future; In one month I was happy and cared for myself and wanted the best for myself. The program gave me more than self-respect and healing; it gave me a friend for life!"

Ryan's Testimonial:

Before I went to camp I was struggling with my faith. I didn't understand why Jesus died for us and I didn't really care much. Paul and the staff there showed me why, and helped me understand that God loves all of us.

Ryan-age 19 (age 17 at New Hope)

Bud & Pam's Testimonial:

Ryan had always been a charming, funny, entertaining boy. But as he got into high school, he got in with a wrong crowd - a young lady, specifically - and he became a brooding, angry young man with a very dark aura and, it felt to us, a lack of faith and Christian understanding. Even his grandmother commented that he seemed to be changing. After witnessing our neighbor's son's wonderful transformation after attending New Hope Wilderness Camp, we decided it was an opportunity for Ryan as well. What a blessing! We believe it was a life-changing event for him. We got our son back...our wonderful, charming, funny son, and know he will be OK. Thank you, Paul, and all the staff at New Hope. You all really are a blessing.

With much love, Pam

Brandon's Testimonial

It has been over a year now since I left New Hope Wilderness Camp and things have been going well for me since then. I can tell you that my experience there was truly life changing and a gift that I was able to get away from everyday distractions so that when I went back I would have a much better chance of succeeding. This program gave me the opportunity to really get outside my comfort zone so that I could really begin to look at myself and begin to work on the areas of my life that got me in so much trouble. Although the program is short there is a lot you can benefit from it even if your heart isn’t fully into it. I know from my own experience there at times it was very difficult and painful, but once I was able to work through that it really made me a stronger person and I wouldn’t trade my time there for anything.

Brandon –age 19 (age 18 at New Hope)

Melissa's Testimony

If you need help getting someone on the right track, we would highly recommend New Hope Wilderness Camp.  Paul and Velma Griffis have dedicated their lives to helping young people and their families.   Their philosophy and the use of horses, away from all of the distractions of our hectic, modern/electronic world has made tremendous changes in the lives of many.

After talking with Paul on the telephone and later when meeting him in person, we

immediately felt reassured by his presence.  He is an amazing person with an enormous gift of understanding most every type of individual.  His kind and respectful way is so comforting.

When someone recommended New Hope to us, I called and spoke to Paul.  My first thoughts were; “this sounds too good to be possible!”  But they were referred by a reputable source.  Every other place I had contacted for this type of help dealt with much larger groups.  New Hope takes small numbers at each session so that they can focus on the individuals.  Their initial stay is around three weeks, but if someone has not made enough progress they can stay longer.

I have also been amazed by the love, care and concern they have shown to all of us after camp was over. Whenever we need support, they have been there to listen and help.  They truly care about each and every individual.

I cannot express enough wonderful things about Paul, Velma and the staff at New Hope.  The experience has been truly life changing for our whole family. 

We are tremendously grateful to them for helping us.


Melissa Easley

Cali's Testimony

Hi my names Cali. I'm 13 years old and in 8th grade.I went to New Hope Camp with a negative attitude. But i came out with a very positive one. Going to New Hope changed my life. I was so surprised. I learned so much about God, and life even. Family relationships got better and my social life got better. I'm so much happier now.

If there's one thing I could say about Paul, Velma, Carissa, and Jenni is that they are all amazing. Paul is one of the most amazing people I've ever met and I'm sure he's changed many lives. He's one of the best Christians I've ever met and the nicest people. He is so inspiring and great at what he does. I'm so lucky to have him in my life, and all of the people I met at new hope camp.

Cali  1/6/09

Tess's Testimony

New Hope means so much to me. Before I came there, my life was a mess. The hard thing was that I didn't realize it. I started the program not really looking forward to it. Once I arrived and met the people, I finally noticed I had done a wonderful thing for my life.  Life has never meant so much to me now.  New Hope taught me that life was MORE. I remember rock climbing and just feeling really good about Myself for once. The best part of my experiences there was getting to know the One who made my life possible. I realized a real purpose. God truely blessed and saved my life with New Hope. God also continued to bless myself and even my family! It's good to know that I actually have a purpose now. I met life long friends and my Savior. I also know that the Griffis family will always be there for me. The people, the environment, and the adventures I had at New Hope will always be great memories of my life. Thank you for everything! Your always in my prayers..May God continue to bless you all.


I recommend New Hope Wilderness Camp as a counseling program for youth and young adults struggling with behavioral problems, relational problems, family issues, identity issues, rebellion, abuse, and addictions.  Founder and Director Dr. Paul Griffis has a Bachelor’s Degree in Intercultural Studies, Master’s Degree in Clinical Christian Counseling, and Doctorate in Marriage and Family Counseling.  Dr. Griffis uses Equine Assisted Therapy and Equine Assisted Learning in the counseling process at New Hope Wilderness Camp.  Dr. Griffis and his wife, Velma, spent over 30 years as missionaries in the Amazon jungle of Venezuela and Brazil.  They have a passion for Christ and a passion for young people.  In his counseling Dr. Griffis emphasizes every individual’s need for a relationship with Jesus Christ as their personal Savior, knowing it is only God who can create a lasting heart change.

As a biblical counselor I have made several recommendations for individuals to attend New Hope Wilderness Camp.  Each referral has returned with a new perspective on life and hope in Jesus Christ.  New Hope Wilderness Camp is a valuable and dependable counseling program.

Dr. Anna Petersen, PhD

Dear Parent:

I recommend sending struggling youth and young adults to Dr. Paul Griffis at New Hope Wilderness Camp.  Located on 209 acres of beautiful Ozark wilderness near Ava, Missouri; New Hope Wilderness Camp helps young people deal with emotional and spiritual issues through twenty-four hour contact with mentors while experiencing rustic living, horseback riding, Biblically-based counseling, equine-assisted therapy, and equine-assisted learning. New Hope Wilderness Camp provides young people opportunity for a break from the distractions of this world, exposure to God’s amazing creation, challenge for spiritual growth, experience of healthy role modeling for character development, and time for reflection.

As a Licensed Professional Counselor who possesses a Biblical worldview and who graduated from Focus on the Family Institute in 2005, I view New Hope Wilderness Camp as an invaluable resource for parents, family members, counselors, and teachers looking for help, healing, and positive change for the young person in their life.  As a mental health and chemical dependency counselor South Dakota, I wish I could send all of my youth and young adult clients to New Hope Wilderness Camp. 

Dr. Paul Griffis, his wife Velma, and their staff exemplify Godly character in everything they do.


Carissa Palmberg, MS, LPC, CDCT