When you think back on your childhood summers, what are some of your favorite memories? For me, the first thing that comes to mind are the weeks I spent at summer camp – making new friends, learning new skills and spending time outside. For many students experiencing homelessness, however, these are experiences they miss out on.

For the last three years, we’ve been working with members of the Indianapolis community to make sure sleep-away summer camp is something that the students in our program are able to experience. Thanks to our partners at Happy Hollow Children’s Camp, in early June we were able to send students from School on Wheels to camp again! The scholarship aid that Happy Hollow provides for students in our program is truly invaluable.

Making this opportunity possible for our students truly takes the work of our entire community – and we have a lot of people to thank! 

RUM breakfast

Photo Credit: Royal United

Every student who attends camp needs to have an updated physical – and getting to a doctor to get one can be a huge barrier for our families. A huge thank you to the doctors at Community Hospital East and our friends at Royal United Mortgage for hosting Camp Breakfast and bringing this vital service to our families! During the breakfast, families were able to eat breakfast and play games while each student was given a physical by the doctors to make sure they were ready to head to camp. Make sure to check out their blog about the event for more information!

dentist donationIn addition to making sure that kids are healthy before they head to camp, our students also need additional supplies to make sure they can have the fullest experience at camp. A huge thank you to our friends at Royal United Mortgage for providing the necessary outdoor clothing for camping, and to our friends at Glendale Family Dentistry for putting together dental kits for each of the students attending camp!

A final thank you goes out to our long-time tutor Katrina Gossett for providing sleeping bags, flashlights, towels and more to each of our students. Her reasons for making sure that the students are able to have this opportunity stem from her own experiences at camp – check out her clip below to learn more!

This year, seven students from Salvation Army Barton Center boarded the bus for Happy Hollow on Sunday, June 12, to have their adventure at camp. Upon returning, we asked one of our 3rd grade students, Lex*, who attended for the first time what his favorite part was about camp. After thinking about it for a minute or two, he threw up his hands and told us, “EVERYTHING was the best part!” We heard from multiple students that one week was just not long enough and they wanted to go back for at least one more week.

It truly takes the entire community to have made this experience possible for our students. A huge thank you again to Glendale Family Dentistry, Katrina, Royal United Mortgage and the doctors at Community Hospital East for making it possible! 

* all names of School on Wheels students and parents are changed to protect privacy