We were 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.
Camptown 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.
Camptown 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.
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.
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.