For the third year in a row, the Indianapolis office of KidsPeace is offering its foster children “Camperships” – scholarships to attend summer camp.
The idea originated in the spring of 2016 when the Indianapolis office bonded over the realization that a number of the staff had previously worked at a summer camp prior to their time with KidsPeace. Bound by a shared passion and a desire to create an opportunity for foster children, they put together a campaign to collect donations from the community and arranged meetings with local camps to talk about the new program. Operators at several camps became captivated by the idea of helping foster children and went one step further – they offered to reduce the cost for KidsPeace campers to attend.
CYO Camp Rancho Framasa in Nashville, Indiana, is one of the original three camps in the program, and they continue to be part of this annual tradition. “The past two summers, KidsPeace proved to us to be a not-for-profit that was managed well and was truly making a difference in the lives of those it worked with,” said camp co-director Kevin Sullivan. “We were humbled to be able to provide campership assistance to KidsPeace, and look forward to the continuation of this collaboration in the summer of 2018,” he added. It is worth noting that Rancho Framasa is a member of the American Camp Association (ACA), whose mission and core values align with the KidsPeace Model of Care.
Another such camp is Jameson Camp on Indianapolis’ Westside. Krystel Neal, who transferred from Indianapolis to the Franklin, Indiana, office, is a former camp counselor there and is continuing the tradition of Camperships at her new KidsPeace location. “Camp is an important experience for children because it gives them opportunities and experiences they would not normally have, especially children in care or low-income families. Camp provides a safe, fun, chaotically structured environment for children to learn new skills, make new friends, and enjoy the outdoors,” Krystel said.
The Indianapolis and Franklin offices view summer camp as an opportunity where foster children will not only have an unforgettable experience, but they will be in a setting where they can grow in their character. According to one enthusiastic camper who attended Jameson camp last summer:
“You play brilliant games every day, then on the second to last day that is the most fun overall. You probably find lifetime friends. You are always gonna be happy…. and you can be as loud as you want outside!”
For more information or to find out how to make a donation to the Camperships program, contact Christian Deck at the KidsPeace Indianapolis office, 317-253-1723 or at Christian.Deck@kidspeace.org