Off to Summer Camp
Jameson Camp Supports Central Indiana Disadvantaged Youth
Writer / Matt Keating
Photography / Brian Brosmer
It’s called Jameson Camp, a special place where many Geist, Fishers and other area residents donate their time and leadership skills to help disadvantaged youth in central Indiana.
Mike Murray, a Geist resident and the current Jameson Camp board president, Chuck Hundt, Fishers, and current immediate past president, Kara Riggle, board secretary and Jerry Ewing, board member (also Geist residents) provide leadership skills to kids who would never get a chance to experience summer camp without Jameson.
“A lot of kids are challenged with recognizing their inner strengths,” Murray says. “Many come from a single-parent home and live at or below the poverty level. Many of them have trouble focusing at school. They need guidance and help in an environment where they recognize their abilities and gain confidence and self-esteem. Many people don’t know about the camp, and we would like to raise awareness of what a great place it is.”
Jameson Camp welcomes all children, but is different from many other camps because a majority of its summer campers are from disadvantaged backgrounds. The camp draws youth throughout the state of Indiana but mostly in central Indiana. The camp focuses on enriching the lives of Indiana youth by inspiring them to discover their strengths and apply them to everyday life. Many of the camp attendees are living at or below the poverty level and some are affected by some level of behavioral or developmental disorders.
Since 1928, Jameson Camp has been impacting the lives of young people through its award-winning camp experience designed to provide a nurturing environment where children ages 7 to 17 engage in self-discovery and develop self-respect and confidence.
Camp activities include swimming, rock climbing, archery, journalism, culinary arts, creek walking, talent shows, campouts and campfires just to name a few.
Murray says that beyond summer camp sessions, Jameson also focuses on youth leadership (which is a separate program for kids with higher leadership goals), outdoor education and team building.
The programs offered serve a common purpose to “get outside and grow inside.” Each year, Jameson Camp touches the lives of more than 7,500 youth in a meaningful and long-lasting way.
The board of Jameson Camp believes every child deserves a chance to go to summer camp, and they are dedicated to helping make that happen. The organization relies on community support and facility rentals to help cover costs. The average camper family pays $90 for the week while it costs the camp $550 to serve each camper.
Hundt noted that Jameson Camp strives to be a resource to children and their families to assist in the development of life skills necessary for successful, productive futures. The camp is located on over 100 acres of woods and meadows within the city of Indianapolis.
Jameson Camp works with a lot kids who have social and emotional challenges.
“There are a lot of kids with autism, attention deficit disorders, and other issues” Hundt said. “The camp includes programs that encourage health and wellness-based activities. It also helps teach the kids about the world around them in an active and experiential way.”
Jameson Camp is also the only camp in Indiana that offers a special camp session for children impacted by HIV/ AIDS. The camp has won multiple awards for Programming from the American Camp Association for the program.
Campers experience a variety of fun and adventurous activities, while at the same time learning and growing in a safe and welcoming environment.
Jameson Camp’s Leadership Program serves 50-60 teenagers, ages 13-18 annually. It’s a three stage, five year program with a proven experientially-based curriculum that helps to promote both character and leadership development among the program’s teens.
“We have had a lot of success stories from The Leadership Program and the camp,” Hundt said. “There have been several who have gone on to college, served in the military, and become productive citizens in their communities. There are kids who have attended the camp before and come back to work with us as counselors. The Leadership program also serves as a networking community. Jameson Camp has purchased another 31 acres to expand, so we really want to see things grow in the future.”
Jameson Camp relies on donations to continue to make a positive impact on the lives of Indiana youth. Gifts of any level make a significant difference, are used wisely, and are deeply appreciated.
“It’s amazing how touched people really are when they come out to tour the camp, and see all of the positive things that are happening,” Murray said. “Many of the kids would not be able to have a camp experience, if it weren’t for the generous donations we receive.”
Hundt added that because of the rapid growth in community demand for the camp’s programming, a capital campaign is underway to create a new activity building, storm shelter, and pavilion to be able to expand and enhance what Jameson Camp currently offers.
“It’s a great way for a company or individual to do something positive for their community,” Hundt stated.
Murray noted that when he makes a donation to Jameson Camp through money or time, he knows it will have a direct and tangible impact on some of the lives of disadvantaged youth in the state of Indiana.
“The impact on the kids not only lasts during that week of camp, but in their broader lives as well,” Murray said. “Many of them leave with improved self-confidence and an understanding of their inner strengths to excel in other endeavors. We hope the capital campaign will help us get the word out and expand the best kept secret in Indianapolis.”
To make a donation, write a check to Jameson Camp at 2001 Bridgeport Road, Indianapolis, In, 46231, or give online at Jamesoncamp.org. Also visit their website for details on how to volunteer at Jameson Camp.