Indianapolis, IN (December 4, 2008) – The American Camp Association (ACA) is proud to announce that Lilly Endowment Inc. has awarded a Nature-Based Leadership grant to fund the development of Camp 2 Grow, an education and leadership program for at-risk youth.
The $490,000 grant will support the distribution of a leadership education program and the development and implementation of a national scholarship program that will ensure greater numbers of children and youth have the opportunity to experience camp.
“We are thrilled that Lilly Endowment, a nationally known youth and community development foundation, has invested $490,000 in the camp cause. During this tough economic climate, this is not only an honor; it also reaffirms our work as camp professionals. The principals at the Endowment recognize that camp is essential to the development of healthy, productive children and communities,” said Peg L. Smith, ACA’s chief executive officer.
The objective of Camp 2 Grow is to disseminate educational materials that integrate best practices in youth development with an emphasis on environmental stewardship. Additionally, Camp 2 Grow will facilitate a national conversation highlighting the importance of nature-based experiences for positive child development.
The camp experience preserves and values the natural environment while providing children with unique, first-hand experiences. Camp offers kids one of the few learning environments in which they are “unplugged” from an onslaught of information and technology. It gives youth time for unstructured play and reflection in natural surroundings and offers the opportunity to be physically active in a setting that promotes healthy behaviors and choices. Through nature-based experiences at camp, youth learn, organize, synthesize, and reflect—they experience the outdoors as a safe place and see themselves as a part of a larger cycle of life.
Currently, 10 million children attend camp each year. The ACA camp community generates $39 million annually for camp scholarships. Camp 2 Grow’s scholarship component will increase the number of children annually who are able to attend camp, and supports ACA’s commitment to see 20 million benefit annually from the camp experience by the year 2020.
The American Camp Association® (ACA) works to preserve, promote, and enhance the camp experience for children and adults. ACA-Accredited® camp programs ensure that children are provided with a diversity of educational and developmentally challenging learning opportunities. There are over 2,400 ACA-accredited camps that meet up to 300 health and safety standards. For more information, visit www.ACAcamps.org .