INDIANAPOLIS — For some school-aged children, staying inside during the winter isn't the place to be.
Instead of staying inside, they’re all participating in programming from the non-profit Camptown.
This year, Camptown has interacted with more kids than ever before — nearly 4,000 to be exact. Students then get to go on outdoor adventures and engage in environmental education lessons, for free.
The non-profit’s partners with 65 organizations, including 10 schools on a regular basis.
Camptown provides options ranging from springtime camping trips for students to year-round after-school outdoor programs, like the ‘Teen Master Naturalist Credential’.
Through the program students like Ramari Nance get a wildlife science credential through the Department of Natural Resources, but the personal growth goes beyond the credentials.
“We help kids experience those benefits those social, mental, emotional (and) physical benefits of time spent outdoors,” Brent Freeman, the Executive Director of Camptown said. "So, we partnered with other organizations in Central Indiana to make that possible. And, we get to see amazing young people like Ramari get to step more into their potential and more into who you know, they're meant to be.”
“You know when it’s winter and you just want to be in the house, you know it’s cold and things, but… not for Camptown, no indoors for Camptown," Ramari Nance said. “I feel different, you know, I felt more you know, less in the box as usual. It brings like, you know, more happiness to me. You learn things that you never know. I have a lot of new friends now that I haven't had in the beginning of this year. People that I wouldn't even think of talking to you know, I talked to them now.”
Nance said she’s now gone to the White River, Hoosier National Forest, and several parks and that’s only with one Camptown program. If you’d like more information on other Camptown programs, go to Camptown.org.