Kids Care at AYS

Throughout this summer, AYS campers at each of the six Camp AYS sites got a taste of philanthropy during “Kids Care Week.” Each camp chose a charitable organization to dedicate their time and effort over the course of the week.

The campers at Pittsboro Primary chose to make dog treats and cat toys to donate to a local animal shelter. A hands-on project like baking dog treats really allowed the children to become engaged in the activity. According to Camp Director Denise Smeltzer, “The kids really liked making those. They were super fun to make.” In addition to making the treats, the campers also made yarn balls filled with catnip, and parents donated a few toys for both cats and dogs. Two women from Misty Eyes Animal Shelter visited the campers and spoke about what it takes to raise a pet and all the necessities it takes to make them happy. The two women also spoke about the organization’s junior volunteer program. Misty Eyes is a 100% volunteer-run organization. Looking for a volunteer opportunity for your child or young teen? They can sign up to be a junior volunteer here.

Kids Care Week projects at Marion County sites were supported by The Summer Youth Program Fund, a fund of the Indianapolis Foundation and support from Lilly Endowment Inc. In addition to the projects themselves, the funding supported a partnership with Youth Philanthropy Initiative of Indiana (YPII). According to the organization’s website; “YPII promotes effective youth philanthropy by providing consultation, technical assistance, educational resources, trainings and professional development for adults and youth.” YPII provided a 30-minute workshop for camp directors on philanthropy and how to utilize the activity kit entitled: “Phil and His Family’s Adventures in Giving.” YPII also provides two presenters that visit each camp to teach kids about philanthropy and the use of their time, talent and treasure to help others.

Fox Hill and Center for Inquiry at School 70 campers chose to focus their Kids Care Week on helping the environment and fighting against homelessness. John Strange, Speedway Newby and Stephen Decatur set their passion towards fighting hunger, homelessness and defending animal welfare.

Camp AYS at School 70 chose to make care packages to donate to those in need. Camp Director Ty Straughan noticed the effects the project had on the campers, “The little kids were really into it; it got their attention. They loved writing the letters.” Many of the campers talked about decorating cards and being able to personally reach the people for whom they made these packages. One of the camp’s lead assistants, Jasamine Turentine, talked about how exposing children to community service at a young age can benefit them in the long run: “If they learn now, they will be more able to help others. Instead of just thinking about themselves, they can have that influence on others as well.”

Through grants such as these, Camp AYS is able to provide diverse programming to aid our campers in broadening their world view through hands-on engagement and in-person experiences.

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