About Us

Purpose: To give children and young adults the best day of their lives.

Fort Hope is a Western-style frontier town with hands-on activities geared towards reaching and mentoring young people in need. As a non-denominational Christian organization we offer a place to learn new skills, build self esteem and provide loving encouragement. We want children/youth to know that they are loved and valued by God. We collaborate with other local organizations that provide mentoring, tutoring, and life skill instruction to at-risk/needy children.
A partial list of our organizational stakeholders from the San Luis Obispo and Santa Barbara Counties:
  • Grizzly Academy
  • SLO Foster Children
  • Dept. of Social Services
  • Boys and Girls Clubs
  • Royal Family Kids Camp
  • Local 4-H Clubs
  • Samaritan Homeless Shelter
  • Central Coast YMCA
  • Lucia Mar Unified School District
  • Special Education Day classes
  • Boy Scouts of America
  • Santa Maria Bonita School District
  • Kincares, Inc.
  • AG Jr. Sportsman
  • AG Parks and Rec
  • Angel Tree Ministries
  • Awanas
  • Youth Groups
  • Private and Homeschools

Visit Fort Hope

After a drive through the beautiful countryside of the central coast, visitors arrive at Fort Hope. They are greeted by friendly docents who present them with straw cowboy hats, bandanas, and a sheriff badge. They are divided into groups and begin their activities.

  • The activities they may do in a day include:
  • Fishing (catch and release)
  • Archery
  • Feeding and petting goats and other animals
  • Panning for gold (both gold painted rocks and real gold)
  • Shooting BB guns (shooting at paper target or tin cans)
  • Historical Crafts including: Corn Husk Dolls, Adobe bricks, Pottery, Rope, Candles, Butter
  • Milking a goat

The kids have a break for lunch which is followed by Doc Burnstein’s Ice Cream served from the Doc’s own ice cream parlor in the Fort Hope town.

At the end of the day, the children have some great souvenirs including things they’ve made themselves, their bag of gold, as well as memories to last a lifetime. For school field trips, once the students are back in the classroom they can share and reflect on what they learned, and see history through a more experienced perspective.

How it Began

The idea for Fort Hope began with a man named Pat. He was inspired through his faith to invite disadvantaged children – especially those from single-parent homes – to enjoy some of the activities that he loved as a child. He wanted children to be able to try fishing, archery, BB guns and other activities which are gradually fading into history as they disappear from modern day life. Pat had many fond memories of frequent gatherings at his uncle’s old “Ghost Town”. There were thousands of visitors in those days—from troops of Marines, various organizations, friends and family. The old fashioned activities of singing, dances, drinks in the saloon and playing the piano helped to maintain the historical Old Western essence of the place that helped to inspire Fort Hope.

The dream of building Fort Hope was made real in 1999. With donations of time, money, supplies and labor from the local community Fort Hope was brought into existence.

Fort Hope welcomes visitors with a bubbling stream and pond, and an amazing, miniature old western town. Like the old Ghost Town, Fort Hope is a place to gather and have fun away from the contemporary, less personable world of computer screens and media. At Fort Hope, kids can attain a sense of fulfillment while learning about history through unforgettable hands-on activities.

Board Members

List of members coming soon.