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Lilly Endowment awards $45,535,623 to American Camp Association for new Character at Camp initiative

Project aims to strengthen, expand, and celebrate character development at over 15,000 year-round and summer camps nationwide
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Posted at 2:41 PM, Apr 23, 2024
and last updated 2024-04-23 19:26:03-04

INDIANAPOLIS — A nonprofit with over 15,000 camps across the country is getting a huge boon in its effort to enrich kids' characters and help them become better humans for life.

The American Camp Association (ACA) works to create quality support for young people at camps, encouraging belonging and growth.

"A key piece is, in every one of those programs kids are living in a community of learning where they’re learning to contribute and receiving back from that program and learning tremendous character traits — for example independence, resilience, and emotional resilience in particular," ACA president and CEO Tom Rosenberg said. "They’re learning social skills learning to persist trying hard things. Camp is a place where you can try new things and even make mistakes and learn from those mistakes and keep trying until you succeed."

The Lilly Endowment recently awarded the ACA $45,535,623 to launch the "Character at Camp" Initiative.

Rosenberg says camps often have character development efforts, but this new initiative will lift up these programs, helping camps be more intentional.

"(Characters at Camp is) actually driving outcomes, helping kids grow in rich ways, developing more independence, greater resilience, more social skills, learning how to communicate effectively with their peers and with other people," Rosenberg said. "Learning to be more persistent about the things that they care about trying like all those new activities they're trying at camp, and also as how they live as part of the community at camp, being a good citizen, participating actively, learning how to lead and also learning how to follow. And above all of course, learning how to be kind and empathetic."

The Character at Camp Initiative will be set forth in both summer and year-round camps over the next 6 years.

If you want to know more or find a camp for your child, here's a link to the ACA's website.

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