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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.

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.

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.

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


Hole-in-One Golfer Gives to Non-Profit

What would you do after winning $25,000? One very lucky golfer in attendance at the 11th Annual Tom Lehman Golf Tournament fundraiser, Toby Shurden, earned the opportunity to ponder that very question after sinking a hole-in-one from the 17th tee. [Read more…]

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!

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”