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Camping for Rookies

Camping 101 LogoIt’s Back!  Family Camping 101.  Join us this year at one of the family camping events at your Indiana State Parks.  Register today to secure your spot.  These programs are being brought to you by Camptown, Inc. and the Indiana State Parks and Reservoirs.

These events are designed specifically for first time campers only. Register early to ensure spaces for your family! All Payments are Final.  No Refunds.  Camp will be held rain or shine. 


Ft. Harrison State Park; Indianapolis, IN – September 26-27
Shades State Park; Waveland, IN  – October 3-4

What’s provided
* Campsite and tent
* Sleeping bags and pads
* Assistance with camp set-up
* 3 meals (lunch and dinner on Saturday, breakfast on Sunday)
* Campfire cooking program and evening campfire program with s’mores
* Time to explore, hike, visit the nature center and more
* Lots of fun and great memories

$15 per person

Click here to register



Camptown CORE

LeGore Turkey Run (30)The Camptown Core is your opportunity to join a group of like-minded individuals who want to ensure that programs like Camptown’s continue. On average, it takes $150 to introduce a young person the the outdoors through an overnight camping trip. That cost rises to $500 per student on one of our week-long backpacking trips. With your annual commitment to give $10, $20, or $50 per month, not only will you be making trips like this possible for children in need, you will also receive these benefits as a sustaining member of the Camptown Core:

  • 50% off all gear rental from Camptown.
  • Access to arguably the most exciting and impactful outdoor volunteer opportunities in the world!
  • Decision-making ability and the opportunity to gain Board/Committee experience.
  • Invitations to exclusive community and fundraising events.

Click here to make a recurring online gift!

Welcome SEP Mt. McKinley Sponsor

SEP CompressedCamptown welcomes Software Engineering Professionals (SEP) to the Camptown family as a Mt. McKinley Sponsor.  SEP, an employee-owned local software product design and development company, was started in 1988 by engineers who thrived on challenging projects and continuous learning. They wanted to build a company where software engineers worked directly with clients to streamline innovation and encourage collaboration. Since then, they have become one of Indianapolis’ Largest Software Development firms building quality products to companies of all sizes throughout the world.

The new partnership with SEP and Camptown is significant.  From a financial support perspective SEP is a key contributor to the work of Camptown.  Their support helps set the base of operations and brings programs to youth regardless of their ability to pay.  “SEP employees have already rolled up their sleeves, put on their shorts, and come out to help at one of our Natural Wonders Day Camps.  We look forward to this partnership and working together to help youth right here in Central Indiana”, said Don Schafer, Executive Director with Camptown.

The youth that will benefit from this grant include inner city elementary students, middle school students, and special needs students.  Camptown introduces area youth to the outdoors who might not get the opportunity to connect with nature.  The typical participant is 8-18 years old, lives in a single-parent household, with income below the poverty level.  Programming is paid for through support such as the SEP partnership and makes an impact that is felt by the entire community.

Since 1991, Camptown has been leading youth to a better path by providing outdoor adventures and nature programs that challenge, mentor, and teach youth about nature and life.

KirahtCamptown is such a great experience because the trip helps you get out of your comfort zone, work with others, and get to know each other.  Maybe your unsure about something or you think you can’t do it, well at the end I ended jumping off the rock like twice and I’m afraid of heights and I kept on wanting to jump off again.  It was so much fun.  You also learn about survival skills and what pioneers went through.  I also realized that you have so little on your back and some people don’t appreciate what they have and complain while others have nothing.  Lead, believe, and appreciate what you have around.  This is what I think this trip has taught me.

CHA 8th

IMG_2425[1]I have had the pleasure of teaching this group of middle schoolers for the past two years.  In these two years, I’ve gone on two Camptown overnight field trips.  The first being thier 7th grade 1-night trip to Shades State Park, an the final trip being the 8th grade 5 day backpacking trip through the Big South Fork.  It is greatly due to these trips that my students are the cooperative, determined and respectful individuals that they are today, and it has been exciting to see how much our students have grown in their ability to compromise, work together, and challenge themselves.  It is for these experiences with Camptown that our students are transforming into mature and dependable young adults.

Natural Wonders Day Camp Volunteer

Mary Rigg (14)Each year volunteers help us bring nature to hundreds of inner city youth.  Our Natural Wonders Day Camps are designed to provide inner city elementary age children a one day nature experience.  Campers get to try their hand at fishing, take a nature hike, paddle a canoe, and play outdoor teambuilding games.  A Natural Wonders Day Camp provides for many of our students a once in a life time experience.  For others, it opens the door to a whole new world – a world outside, one they have not even imagined before.  One of our partners shared this last summer after their Natural Wonders Day Camp, “I truly believe that Camptown was the greatest experience the girls had.”  We need volunteers to make this happen.  No experience necessary.  Camptown staff will train you and be there to support you during the day.  We need station leaders, assistant leaders, and guides. For more information visit our Volunteer Page.

My Story

LeGore Turkey Run (30)

My trip to Camptown was very cool because I got to look at a map and figure out where we are and where we were going as  a group.  I got to see a lot of different types of nature that I usually wouldn’t see int he city like a deer running across the trail that my group was walking on.  I loved hearing the birds and getting a chance to see one that was about to be released back into the wild.  I loved all of the walking because it made me active and I got to feel proud that I was outside doing something instead of being inside playing video games. I really enjoyed the scavenger hunt because I got to find things outside and it made me think a lot.  I really hope that I get to go back to Camptown and see what other things that I might get to do in the future.

Get On Board

Interested in serving on a board?
Christel House 8th  Water Camera (19)Camptown is looking for Christian men and women to become board members. Help set the direction for Camptown’s growth and provide the resources needed to reach more youth.

For more information on becoming a board member at Camptown, Please visit us at


Christel House 6th 2013 (21) (1)Yesterday I had the Camptown leader named Jennifer (Cinderella).  She was very nice and kind to me.  When we went on the (scavenger) hunt, we were suppose to find the bag first.  Yet…we found it last! We got to eat lunch on the land bridge and step our feet into the water.  We only had one 2 minute break.  We had to drink a lot of water because of how the humidity was outside.  I though that we would have ended up getting lost.  Good thing we didn’t. I was happy that our team was he only team who went in a circle.  I was super excited that we won the pizza party and that we saw a deer and other animals. I was glad that we went to the land bridge because I saw a completely black bird with perfect orange circles.  The scavenger hunt was very easy to me.  I hope that next time I go there I will be a camp counselor.

Outdoor Tip: Lightning Safety

LightningIn 2013, 23 lightening fatalities were reported in the United States by the National Weather Service.  Florida and Arizona tie for the highest number of fatalities.  Although the odds of you being stuck are slim, even if you survive being struck most injuries are serious and lifelong. A direct hit by lightning is very rare and only accounts for 3-5% of lightening fatalities.  A person is more likely to be injured or killed by ground current that spreads out through the earth, rock or water from the point of lightning contact.  If you spend anytime outdoors it is important to learn and understand lightning safety.

The National Weather Service states that “NO PLACE outside is safe when lightning is in the area.” The best place to be during a lightning storm is inside.  If you cannot get indoors there are some things you can do to survive a lightning storm.  If you can hear thunder, you are within striking distance of lightning.

Guidelines for Avoiding Lightning Strikes

If you find yourself caught in a lightning storm, do not panic. Stay calm and take the proper immediate precautions. Immediately leave open fields, elevated mountain tops, or watery areas. Get away from tall or isolated structures and never use trees as shelter. The idea that electronic devices and metal on your body attract lightning is a myth, so don’t take the time to remove these. Find shelter to ride out the storm.  If you are driving stay inside the vehicle, on or under a vehicle is bad.  If no shelter can be found, sit on an insulated pad or other object to reduce contact with ground current.  Spread your group out to avoid a multiple-casualty strike.  If moving toward safety keep moving.  Avoid open areas where you are the tallest object.  Do not hold wire fence, wet rope, or other conductors.

Because the charge simply passes through the body, a lightning strike victim does not carry an electric charge after being struck. If they are not breathing or have no pulse, start performing CPR chest compressions until they regain consciousness or help arrives. Treat electrical burns as you would any other type. Neurological and internal injuries are possible, however, 80% of people recover after being hit by lightning. It is also possible for someone to be hit by lightning and be practically uninjured.