June 25, 2013
Camp Joy in the business of changing lives
2013 SBEA winner Camp Joy is a 317-acre property located in Clarksville, Ohio (between Lebanon and Wilmington). Originally an apple orchard and dairy farm, the facility annually serves over 3,000 low income youth, youth with medical conditions, day campers, youth with special needs, middle school aged youth, high school and college students, and adults. A pioneer in offering a racially integrated camping program as early as 1948, the program also became coeducational in 1953.
Camp Joy’s mission is to help people grow and succeed through life-long, hands-on, experience-based learning. “We are an organization that is in the business to change lives,” says Executive Director, Amy Thompson.
Dependent entirely on donations for many years, in 1984, Camp Joy began partnering with businesses, organizations, universities, and high schools. Partners are provided with access to camp facilities and programs focused on leadership development and team-building. This allows them to develop their greatest asset – their people. Today, while private donations are still an integral part of funding, Camp Joy’s leadership development programs generate part of the service fees that make up 83% of revenue, allowing the organization to be self-sustaining.
An Outdoor Education program improves students’ confidence by increasing their leadership potential and impacting their educational content through experiential outdoor learning. Classes focus on environmental awareness, cultural history and adventure.
Camp Joy offers week-long camps for children facing a variety of challenges, including economic, medical, special needs, at-risk and foster children.
More than 1 million people have taken part in programs and many say the experience is “life changing.” Camp Joy staff works develop long-lasting relationships with their partners. They create custom programming specific to client needs, whether it be the foster care system, schools, or the E.W. Scripps Company.
In the past year, 100% of camp clients and 65% of leadership development customers were returning customers as were 92% of schools. Many customers also devote volunteer hours to Camp Joy to help maintain the 315 acre facility.
In addition to celebrating their 75th year milestone, Camp Joy was also honored as the 2013 Nonprofit of the Year at the Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber’s Small Business Excellence Awards ceremony in May. See the other winners.
Camp Joy staff with Chamber President Ellen van der Horst and a former camper who shared her experiences with the SBEA audience.
Click here to learn more about how your company can benefit from Camp Joy’s leadership development programming, or make a donation supporting camp programs for underserved youth.