The program was started in 2012 with over 60 kids and 20 teens in attendance.
In 2013, 80 children registered to attend with average attendance of 50-55 kids per day. Attendance records indicated that more than 80% of the campers attended all 5 days and attended from all areas of Jennings County.
In 2014, 101 kids pre-registered and 26 late registered for a total of 127 kids with average attendance up to 75-80 kids per day. 41 kids were served lunch through the Summer FLASH lunch program. This program provided a community service opportunity for 39 teens and 7 adult volunteers. 2014 was the first camp to offer transportation to families in need utilizing the JCYF van which was generously donated in 2013.
In 2015 the board decided to charge a modest $25 per kid for the week long camp with increased advertising there were 119 campers that pre-registered and 68 requested financial assistance. We offered free lunch to approximately 22 kids per day and also provided free pizza one day (compliments of a corporate sponsor) for all camp staff and campers and we provided hot dogs and other snacks to all at the Grand Finale (with special thanks to the summer FLASH program). In addition there were 25 volunteers (14 between the ages of 12-17).
In 2016 the board decided to move the location from the Muscatatuck county park to the North Vernon city park. This provided additional opportunities for the youth during camp. Unfortunately there was a decrease in attendance with only 84 campers pre-registered and approximately 66 kids in attendance per day. There were 47 kids that needed financial assistance to attend. We attribute the low attendance due to the poor weather with storms and extreme heat as well as a reduction in the publicity prior to the camp. We had a total of 26 volunteers (18 between the ages of 12-17) with 3 volunteers serving all 4 years and 2 volunteers used to be campers (when they were younger) and 1 camper has attended all 4 years of Kids Camp. There are current plans to pass this program onto another organization with the continued financial support from the youth foundation and its sponsors.
Here is an article written by Katy Dudzik for the North Vernon Plain Dealer about our Summer Kids Camp.
Check it out.
The primary focus of the summer Kids Camp program is to provide an affordable week-long summer day camp experience for the youth of Jennings County. Day camp offers youngsters a chance to participate in a wide variety of sports and activities.
Summer day camps are also ideal for younger campers who are perhaps not yet ready for an overnight camp experience. Day camps also offer children learning skills with an introduction to the camping experience. They learn new sports and crafts, and good sportsmanship from playing on teams and working with their peers. In addition, they gain an added sense of independence from the experience.
To our knowledge there are a limited number of summer day camp opportunities in Jennings County.
According to research, summer camps provide children with a community of caring adults, who nurture experiential education that results in all of these outcomes: self-identity, self-worth, self-esteem, leadership, and self-respect which build personal competencies.
Research also suggests that children are at less risk at camp where they have a sense of community, develop intergenerational relationships, and learn through first-hand experiences. Camp helps children grow by providing a supervised, positive environment that has safety as a primary commitment. Early learning experiences like summer camps that help build both social skills and pre-learning skills have social and economic benefits for children, parents, employers, and society as a whole, both now and in the future. Our community is no exception and summer camps are vital to the youth and families we serve.