Summer 2017 Wrap Up!

Thanks to our friends, supporters, and of course, campers, we had another wonderful summer here at Jameson Camp! This summer included all of our favorites like archery, rock-climbing and creekwalking and of course, lots of love and learning. We had a record number of 596 camp sessions this summer! Since some of our campers love camp so much, they come more than one week this means we had amazing 482 campers!

We look forward to serving more kids as our programs grow and expand and each summer proves just how much we can do! This summer include some amazing themed weeks such as “Explorers and Scientists,” “Time Travel,” “Camping with the Stars,” among others. These themes offered our campers exciting new ways to learn about themselves, each other and the world around them.

We owe these cool themes to our hardworking Summer Staff. More than half of our Summer 2017 Staff were returners and many of them were also former Youth Leaders, and have gotten to know Jameson Camp firsthand. Among them, they have more than 100 years of experience with our programs. How incredible is that? Even our campers have said that the counselors are like “big brother and sisters” who “accept you for you.”

In addition to our regular camp sessions, this was also our 23rd summer offering Tataya Mato, a radio story about which was recently featured on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered show. Summer 2017 allowed us to continue to partner with great organizations, work with wonderful people and add even more campers to our community. Thanks to all of those people for a great summer, and we’re looking forward to an even better next one!

Kickoff

Yesterday marked the opening of Summer Camp 2017. For the next two months, children will be running and laughing…and probably playing basketball. I had been practicing on the court so much that I was considering leaving Jameson for a career in the NBA. Welcome, little chicos and chicas!

Papa’s Cubs Grow at Camp

For a lot of wild animals, it’s the male who leaves the family high and dry. Take deer for example; when was the last time you saw a buck running with his wife and children? He’s usually gallivanting through the woods or playing a game of cards with his deer friends. Bears are much the same but after a lot of research, we’ve found a papa bear that breaks the mold. Single dad John has raised three terrific children and thanks to help from Jameson Camp, his cubs are all grown up. Six years ago, John was a husband and hard-working father who put in 12-hour overnight shifts as a Psych Nurse. Since he left for work in the evening and didn’t get home until after the kids got on the school bus, he only saw his children for about 30 minutes every day. It was a loving sacrifice made by a father who just wanted the best for his family. Unfortunately his other half wasn’t on the same page. During the days while John was at work, he assumed his wife was at home, taking care of the children. It turns out that she had developed a substance-abuse problem. There were many days that she would leave the children home alone, and this neglect had serious consequences on the family. John’s oldest child took it the worst; he got involved in alcohol and started skipping school. Not only did he have to worry about his wife and oldest son and their substance-abuse issues, John also had to take care of two young children, all while continuing his stressful work as a Psych Nurse. The burden was becoming quite heavy on Papa Bear’s shoulders, but soon a forgotten gift reappeared in the form of summer camp. Prior to the family unrest, John’s youngest children, Chris and Clara had been attending Jameson Camp for a few years. It wasn’t until they faced some serious adversity that John realized the value of camp. “They learned responsibility,” he said. “I credit a lot of their development to Jameson Camp.” Despite not having a parent at home most of the time, Chris and Clara were able to translate their support from Jameson into a steady home life. “While everything else in their lives had exploded, Jameson Camp was something they were familiar with,” John said. The benefits of camp were evident. “Chris had always been isolative and shy,” John said. “But after attending camp his social skills improved tremendously.” Being in a supportive environment, surrounded by kids his age, Chris was able to open up at camp. “It was a great breakthrough for Chris in attending Jameson Camp having the opportunity to work with other youth and I know that brought him out of his shell a great deal. He is leaps and bounds beyond where he was when he started.” For 16-year-old Clara, half her life has been spent at Jameson. She was a traditional camper for her first four years at Jameson, then in 2013 she was invited to camp for a follow-up as a potential Youth Leader. This is when Clara truly learned about the welcoming atmosphere at Jameson. “During the follow ups, I learned that camp was my second home,” she said. To this day, Clara is unsure who recommended her as a Youth Leader but as she puts it, “I am forever thankful for them.” Undoubtedly it was this anonymous support that helped kick start the growth of Clara the Cub. With her involvement in the Youth Leadership program, Clara gained valuable skills like communication, leadership and teamwork. “Being with a group of 5-8 people for weeks at a time taught me to be a team player,” she said. The program provided multiple leadership workshops on communication and Clara was able to practice her newly acquired skills on the annual A.C.E. camping trips. These talents have also translated into the classroom where Clara is currently a features writer for her school paper. Friendships forged from camp are strong bonds and Clara’s experience with her fellow Youth Leaders is a perfect example of that. For her, being a Youth Leader meant “creating unbreakable bonds.” After being with the same group of people for a few summers in a row, she was able to develop meaningful relationships with kids her age. Losing the connection with her mother was devastating for Clara, but the companionship with camp friends helped bring some joy back to her life and gave her hope for a brighter future. “They are not just camp friends now,” she said. “They are lifetime friends I want to keep up with.” It’s easy to think of camp as only benefiting children. But for single parents like John, the chance to send kids to a safe, encouraging environment offers a much-needed break. “It was a respite care situation,” he said. “I was able to get household chores done and other things that were necessary at home.” While taking care of his domestic duties, John also knew his children were growing at Jameson Camp. “They’ve become more responsible and better decision-makers,” he said. “I’m very proud of my children and I appreciate everything that Jameson Camp has done for them.”

Volunteer Groups

Last Friday, about 50 employees from Roche Diagnostics stopped by Jameson to help with camp beautification projects. Yesterday, a few employees from Old National Bank helped spread mulch, including JC Board Member & Women’s Auxiliary member, Kathy Spangler. Thank you to everyone who has helped keep Jameson looking beautiful!

Mini Horse Therapy

Have you ever been stressed out at the airport? Some people might get stressed out just from hearing the word ‘airport.’ Well, stress no more. Thanks to Ohio’s Seven Oaks Farm and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky airport, you can now experience one of life’s most calming treasures… MINI-HORSES!! Twice a month, Seven Oaks deploys its little arsenal to the airport ticketing area to help weary travelers. With their adorable miniature horse bodies, these little guys and gals are sure to drive your stress away.

Carlin…KIDNAPPED!

On Saturday afternoon, two strangers were spotted in the Jameson Camp main office (three if you count me)… My brother and niece came in for a visit and I gave them a tour of camp. In the VISTA office, animals were tossed to the ground when the wild little girl entered the room… She enjoyed playing with Yvonne’s dog’s accessories (not as bad as it sounds)… Calm was eventually restored but then an event happened that has shaken the camp to its core… CARLIN WAS KIDNAPPED! He was literally napped by a kid! As it turns out, he was not receiving much attention here anymore so this might be the best fit for him. Good luck, little buddy!

Erin’s Last Day

For the past 9 months, Yvonne ‘Mother’ Matlock has had 2 work daughters (Erin & Kevin). Now, one of them is leaving. Erin’s last day is today as she is taking her talents elsewhere. She has been an outstanding employee for Jameson Camp and we wish her the very best. Erin, just remember that even though Yvonne will miss you the most…everybody hurts (including Li’l Sebastian – RIP). We tried to get a sad song in the background but copyright laws wouldn’t allow it. R.E.M.’s ‘Everybody Hurts’ or any Sarah McLachlan song would work well.

Inside Indy

On Monday night at 11:30, ‘Inside Indy’ aired and three Jameson Camp representatives talked to host Kelly Vaughn about camp. The show was taped last week. On the left is Kevin’s camp doppelganger, Program Director Tim Nowak. In the middle is Youth Leader Jojo and on the right is former camp mom and current Board Member Jeana Jefferson. This is how Jameson Camp awareness starts. On a local television station at 11:30 at night!