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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. 


Prophetstown State Park; West Lafayette, IN  – August 29-30
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

Register Here!



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.

Family Scavenger Hunt

Scavenger HuneYou might have missed our family camps this fall but it is not too late to get out and enjoy nature.  Join us on our next family event at Shades State park on November 16th.  Our Shades of Death Family Photo Scavenger Hunt will have you discovering parts of Indiana that you never knew existed.  Come meet other families and enjoy a fun day out in nature with your family.  There is no charge for this event.  You may have to pay a park gate admission of $5 (or use your Indiana State Park Pass).  Please register at  We hope to see you there!

This week with Camptown was awesome! Being able to see how everyone acted outside of school was really cool. I walked 20 miles with a group of people, some of whom I didn’t think would be able to make it the whole way. With everyone working together, though, we all made it (even though one person lost their shoe in the mud). This Camptown trip was a great experience and an adventure!

Camptown is the most fun program I have ever participated in.  This being my last year it, I was looking forward to doing a lot of fun activities.  I got to meet new people I never knew and made new friends.  All the activities are fun and I would do them again.

We just got back from a weeklong backpacking trip with (40) 8th graders.  For this adventure, I was leading the base camp trek.  The base campers quickly created a team identity as the Rockhopper trek as these 12 kids could not pass a pile of boulders without climbing all over them.  The teacher in my trek and I decided to also give each of the students a nature base trail name.   One student was a quiet gentle leader that climbed hills with incredible strength; we named him “Ram.”  “Ram” also  has autism.  He is 17 and in the 8th grade.  With me, “Ram” was quiet, I had to coax him to talk and he usually looked at the ground when he did talk.  I did not really realize how closed off he was.  On the second day of the trip, the teacher told me that he had talked more in the past 2 days than he had in the past 2 years in her classroom.  The following day, while waiting their turn to depart on the solo hike, “Ram,” “Flat Rock,” “Birdman,” and myself were talking and sharing riddles.  “Birdman” also pointed out that he had heard “Ram” talk more on the trip than he had ever heard him talk and “Flat Rock,” “Ram’s” tent mate and friend, said that he had seen him smile more and laugh more on the trip as well.  After rafting, I saw “Ram” having lunch with one of the other students from our trek.  He was eating, smiling, conversing, and making eye contact.  Later, “Ram” told his teacher that the trip was a turning point for him. He was not going to let autism rule over him anymore.  When I asked him how he felt about the trip, his response was “I feel accomplished.”

What we do matters!  This trip made a powerful impact on the lives of 40 students, 4 teachers, and 4 staff.  This is only one of at least a dozen of stories.   I hope that when you read this story, and reflect on your support of Camptown, you too can say, “I feel accomplished.”

Thank you,

Cynthia  “Flower”