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General questions asked about Stepping Stones of Hope

Stepping Stones of Hope is a 501(c)(3) non-profit founded in 1999 to address the shortage of support-based programs and education on bereavement. Originally named "Camp Paz" (Paz being Spanish for peace), the organization evolved to become Stepping Stones of Hope in 2003.

For more information see: Who We Are

Yes, as a 501(c)3 organization, donations to Stepping Stones of Hope are generally considered tax deductible in the U.S.  However, please check with your accountant to confirm based on your individual tax situation.

Donations can be made securely online here.

Camp payment can be made securely online through our payment processor, PayPal.  You do not need a PayPal account, credit card payments are accepted.  To start the payment process, go to the online form. 

Frequently asked questions about Camp Paz

Camp Paz is held at Whispering Hope Ranch in Payson, Arizona which is 15 miles outside of Payson, Arizona.   

2273 E Colcord Rd, Payson, AZ 85541

View a map of the the ranch location and get directions if needed

When you arrive at the gates of the Ranch, you will be greeted by a volunteer who will appropriately direct you. Once you park your vehicle, there will be many volunteers welcoming your family, assisting with bags and directing you to registration. As families arrive, the atmosphere is lighthearted, kids will be playing and families will be taken to their sleeping lodge.

In the great outdoors with the lions, tigers and bears of course! Cabins with bunk beds are provided. Kids sleep in the same cabin as other kids and volunteers in their small group. Girls and female volunteers are in cabins separate from the boys and male volunteers. Several factors determine small groups: age of child, who died, and type of death. Each cabin also has showers and restroom facilities.

Camp Paz for Grown-Ups is on the same property, though the adults occupy different cabins and activity areas. Meals are eaten separately from the children, though you may see your child in passing. Staff communicates via radios throughout the program, and the adults can be easily and quickly reached in case of emergency.

The women’s cabins are separate from the men’s cabins and the cabins are shared with the volunteers of the same gender. Adult cabins also have showers and restroom facilities.

Kids often express different behaviors at camp then at home. Stepping Stones of Hope staff and volunteers are highly sensitive to the unique needs and vulnerabilities of grieving families. The bond and kinship between kids at camp is hard to describe. Their physical, emotional, social, mental and spiritual safety is of utmost importance. By the time Saturday night rolls around the kids are exhausted, feel safe and typically have no struggle falling right to sleep – aside from the occasional pillow fights and other charades!

The Ranch provides all meals and snacks. Kids, grown-ups and staff will never go hungry! Meals are balanced and kid friendly for the kid’s camp. Water, milk and juice are served with meals and snacks.

The grown-up meals are balanced as well. No growling stomachs are ever heard. If you cannot live without a specific food/drink item, please bring it with you. No alcoholic beverages, please.

Please make sure the Stepping Stones of Hope office is aware of any dietary restrictions at least two (2) weeks prior to camp.

Restrooms and shower facilities are available in each cabin, and additional restrooms are available on the grounds. There is electricity, so for anyone who wants to make sure they look their best, hair dryers and such can be used.

Stepping Stones of Hope embraces a policy in which there are two adults with a child at all times. This includes trips to the restroom, cabin and so forth. Small groups have a minimum of 2-1 child to staff ratio. Other volunteers including activity personnel, musicians, and Jr. Volunteers are available to assist if needed.

If your child is on any medication, please bring it to camp it the original container so we can ensure it is appropriately distributed. A registered nurse will store and distribute all medication including non-prescription. Medications will be returned to the child’s parent/guardian at the close of camp. Stepping Stones of Hope keeps a fully stocked first aid cart with necessary items for any situation.

Cell phones are permitted at camp for adults, though discretion with their use is required and they should only be utilized during breaks. We ask that all phones are kept on vibrate to avoid disturbing other campers. We discourage the use of cell phones or other devices by the teens and they will be asked to keep them with their personal possessions in their cabin. If a teen is using one of these devices during the program, they will be stored in a safe location and returned at the end of the program. There is limited cell phone service available in Payson.

Frequently asked questions about Camp Samantha

Camp Samantha is held at Spirit in the Desert in Carefree, Arizona. Enter the Retreat Center off Elbow Bend Road in Carefree.

7415 East Elbow Bend Road, Carefree, AZ 85377

View a map of the the ranch location and get directions if needed.  

Volunteers will be available to welcome you when you arrive. Spirit in the Desert staff will register families and distribute room keys to adults attending the camp weekend. Room keys for kids will be kept by the volunteer staff. After unloading your luggage, you will be asked to move your vehicle to the back parking lot to make room for other campers who are registering.

Lodging is provided in small hotel like rooms, each with a small refrigerator. Each adult room sleeps two with a separate bathroom. Separate rooms are designated for men and women.

The kid’s rooms sleep 3-4 kids and 2 volunteers and has a separate bathroom. Girls and boys are in separate rooms. Volunteers sleep in the same room; however not the same bed as the campers. Kids of similar age will share rooms with volunteers, most likely those who are leading their Healing Circles.

Camp Samantha for Grown-Ups is located on the same property. In case of emergency, the Camp Director will be contacted and adult campers will be notified immediately.

Kids, adults and volunteers will share meal times and will sit with their healing circles.

Kids often express different behaviors at camp than at home. Stepping Stones of Hope staff and volunteers are highly sensitive to the unique needs and vulnerabilities of grieving families. Their physical, emotional, mental and spiritual safety is of utmost importance. When Friday and Saturday nights roll around, most times the kids have already made connections, feel safe, and typically have no struggle falling right to sleep – aside from the occasional pillow fights and other charades!

Spirit in the Desert has a chef on staff who will prepare all meals. Morning and afternoon snacks will be provided. Meals are well balanced and are appropriate for any dietary restrictions. Please be sure to advise SSOH of any special dietary needs.

In the case of foods or drinks you can not live without, please bring them with you. No alcoholic beverages please.

Stepping Stones of Hope embraces a policy providing 2 adults with a child at all times. A minimum of 2 volunteers are assigned to each Healing Circle. Other volunteers including activity personnel, musicians, and Jr. Volunteers are available to assist when needed.

Swim time will be offered throughout the weekend. A volunteer will serve as a lifeguard and flotation devices are available for kids with limited water experience. These children will each be assigned one volunteer to supervise their swim time. Children will swim with other kids their age.

Please bring your child’s medication, in the original container, to camp. Upon arrival, all medications (including non-prescription) will be stored and distributed during the weekend by a registered nurse and will be returned at the close of camp. Adult campers are responsible for their own individual medications. Stepping Stones of Hope keeps a fully stocked first aid kit with necessary items for any situation.

We highly encourage cell phones and other devices be kept in your rooms during the weekend’s program activities. There will not be time for phone calls or text messaging. Kid and teen campers will be asked to keep all phones in their rooms with their personal belongings. Adults will be asked to use individual discretion with regard to cell phones.

Frequently asked questions about REACH- A Camp for Teens

Reach is held at Spirit in the Desert in Carefree, Arizona. Enter the Retreat Center off Elbow Bend Road in Carefree.

7415 East Elbow Bend Road, Carefree, AZ 85377

View a map of the the ranch location and get directions if needed.

Volunteers will be available to welcome you when you arrive. Staff will register campers and room keys for teen campers will be kept by the volunteer staff.

Lodging is provided in small hotel like rooms, each with an adjoining meeting area with a small refrigerator. A volunteer will sleep in the adjoining area. Each room sleeps two with a separate bathroom. Separate rooms are designated for men and women.

Spirit in the Desert has a chef on staff who will prepare all meals. Snacks will be provided a couple of times a day. Meals are well balanced and are appropriate for any dietary restrictions. Please advise of any special dietary needs at least two weeks prior to camp.

In the case of foods or drinks you can not live without, please bring them with you. Definitely NO alcoholic beverages.

Stepping Stones of Hope embraces a policy providing two adult volunteers with campers at all times. A minimum of two volunteers are assigned to each Healing Circle. Other volunteers including activity personnel, musicians, and Jr. Volunteers are available to assist when needed.

Swim times will be offered throughout the weekend. A volunteer will serve as lifeguard for safety concerns and floatation devices available if needed. Non-swimmers will each be assigned one volunteer to supervise their swim time.

Please bring your teen’s medication, in the original container, to camp. Upon arrival, all medications (including non-prescription) will be stored and distributed during the weekend by a registered nurse and will be returned at the close of camp. Please pack medications separately for easy access upon check-in. Stepping Stones of Hope keeps a fully stocked first aid kit with necessary items for any situation.

We highly discourage cell phones since there will not be time for phone calls or text messaging during the program. If cell phones and other wireless communication devices are brought to camp, they are to be kept in your sleeping room during the weekend’s program activities. The safekeeping for all electronic devices will be at your own risk. Telephones are readily available for use in the case of an emergency.

Frequently asked questions about Journeys - the pathway to healing for adults

Journeys is held at Spirit in the Desert in Carefree, Arizona. Enter the Retreat Center off Elbow Bend Road in Carefree.

7415 East Elbow Bend Road, Carefree, AZ 85377

View a map of the the ranch location and get directions if needed.  

Volunteers will be available to welcome you when you arrive. Staff will assist you in registering with the Staff at Spirit in the Desert and room keys will be distributed to the campers.

Lodging is provided in small hotel like rooms, each with an adjoining meeting area with a small refrigerator. Each room sleeps two with a separate private bathroom. Separate rooms are designated for men and women.

Spirit in the Desert has a chef on staff who will prepare all meals. Snacks will be provided throughout the day. Meals are well balanced and are appropriate for any dietary restrictions. Be sure to advise SSOH of any special needs.

In the case of foods or drinks you can not live without, please bring them with you. Definitely NO alcoholic beverages.

Swim times will be available throughout the weekend. A pool is available as well as a hot tub. No lifeguard will be on duty so you will use these facilities at your own risk. Towels will be available in the Estrem building for your use.

Please bring your medication to camp in the original container. Each adult camper will be responsible for safely storing their medication and taking them at the appropriate times. Stepping Stones of Hope will have a first aid kit available that is stocked with general supply items.

We highly discourage cell phones since there will not be time for phone calls or text messaging during the program. If cell phones and other wireless communication devices are brought to camp, they are to be kept in your sleeping room during the weekend’s program activities. The safekeeping for all electronic devices will be at your own risk. Telephones are readily available for use in the case of an emergency.