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Tyrek is a young man on one of our recent backpacking adventures. Tyrek struggled through the first couple of days as he adjusted to his new outdoor surroundings. He and his teammates were well out of their comfort zones but beginning to embrace their challenge. Our second to last morning, Tyrek was volunteered as our  Leader of the Day. He would be responsible for his teammate’s well-being, their route, and their morale. Nervously, he accepted the challenge. Tyrek’s first action after receiving his briefing, was to grab his water bottle and precede to the stream – leaving camp in disarray and the group without direction. The Camptown staff leader followed Tyrek to the stream and told him, “today is going to be the hardest day yet for any of our leaders. You not only have to help your group through the woods, but we will be in the van in a few hours and your role doesn’t end there. You must get your group set up at the campground and make sure everyone is fed and bathed.” He was then asked to take notice of camp. He noticed that camp was disorderly and that he had put his own need for water above the group’s need for leadership. Tyrek battled through the rest of the day with his very smelly group.  You see, all week he had been longing and talking about a shower. More so than the others in the group. Rain put our group a few hours behind schedule, but we finally made it to the campground. Tents were set up, dinner was made, bags were unpacked, and showers were taken… and the mess left behind resembled a Kansas trailer park after a tornado! It was at this point that Tyrek’s leadership really came through. The 9 other people in his group had gone off to take care of their needs (showers, etc) but Tyrek remained behind to take care of camp. He had not showered or changed his clothes in four days, yet he remained behind to put the group’s needs above his own. He sacrificed his own comfort to clean up camp and get “bear proof” before sundown.  Tyrek grew on his day as Leader of the Day. Most importantly, Tyrek was recognized and praised by his group for his leadership – this young man became a walking example for his peers.

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 $20, $50, $100, or $200 per month, you be making trips like this possible for children in need.  In addition, as a CORE member you will:

  • have access to the most exciting and impactful outdoor volunteer opportunities in the world!
  • have the opportunity to gain Board/Committee experience
  • receive invitations to exclusive community and fundraising events
  • and make a difference in a meaningful way!

Click here to make a recurring online gift!

Trailblazers Breakfast

1276176244Trailblazers Breakfast
April 15, 2016
NCCA Conference Center

Join us for our Trailblazer Breakfast with guest speaker Oliver Luck.  Mr. Luck is currently Executive Vice President of Regulatory Affairs for the NCAA.  Prior to that, he was Director of Intercollegiate Athletes at West Virginia University, his alma mater. Luck spent five seasons in the NFL as a quarterback for the Houston Oilers. He was also the first president and general manager of the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer. Under his watch, the Dynamo won the MLS Cup in 2006 and 2007.

The breakfast is free, but a reservation is required.  There will be an ask for support during the event. Stick around after the Trailblazer Breakfast and walk through the NCAA Hall of Champions. For more information click HERE.

Lessons Learned

IMG_2444It was life or death!  At first I was questioning if I should go on the trip or not.  A week in the woods with bears, no showers, and no bathrooms; no thank you!  But I signed the papers anyway.  I am so glad that I did.  This trip was so fun and life changing.  You learn many very important life lessons.  Sacrifices will be made because you must learn that your actions effect the whole group and the environment.  You’ ll learn teamwork and you’ll have many many choices to make and have to learn leadership.

We weTM Girls 2015 (37)re sitting and eating our burgers and this raccoon comes out of the woods.  Jai was the first to see it in the bushes.  When she pointed it out the raccoon was still in the bushes.  Because of that I thought it was a rabbit, that was until it walked out.  Rabbits don’t wear masks or have black gloves.  When everyone saw it my sister said, bye raccoon!  But that did not work.  It took a minute for someone to scare it off.  Then he came back and I had to run away again.  After that he ran back into the jewel weed and into the woods.  I have to admit he was kind of cute.

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 (registration is closed)
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



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.