News from the Camp Director
Camp O'Malley Gets NEW Farmers Insurance Garden
June 10th, 2014
Camp O'Malley is very excited to add an organic garden to the plethora of activities a child can enjoy in a camp setting. The idea for the garden was brought to Camp Director Amanda Alters by David Fox who is the founder of project Amir, a growing organization that partners with summer camps to teach children about social issues through garden activities. The vision of Amir is to enlighten, inspire, and empower youth to make sustainable life choices.
Thanks to a grant Amir received, Camp O’Malley was able to partner with the organization to implement to garden. As a part of the grant, Amir has sent Camp O’Malley a full time gardener to tend to the garden throughout the summer, while incorporating an educational garden program with the Campers. “Farmer Ashlee” is from Idaho and is a Horticulture major who is passionate about helping high risk youth and teaching them about healthy life choices. She uses the garden as a medium to connect kids with social issues like water conservation, eating healthy, and even bullying.
The garden itself is 40' x 40' and in the shape of the Camp O'Malley logo, resembling a large sunshine with the center consisting of a giant herb spiral. The multitude of herbs include various basil species, peppermint, spearmint, lavender, sage, thyme, and oregano. The petal shaped raised beds house bell peppers, watermelon, cauliflower, cucumbers, and squash. The perimeter of the garden contains wooden beds planted with 40 tomato plants, strawberries, and additional squash like zucchini.
Thanks to a grant from Farmers Insurance, we were able to purchase all of the gardening materials including raised cedar garden beds and a six foot fence around the perimeter. A huge thanks to Kris Fisher and James Verduin from Farmers Insurance for their efforts in applying for the grant and helping implement our vision so perfectly. During the week of June 1st, we had more than 50 volunteers come to Camp O’Malley to get the garden ready for Campers to arrive on June 16th. All of the plants were donated to the garden from both Bos Nursery and Koetsiers Greenhouse.
2014 Summer Camp Sessions!
December 17th, 2013
2014 Summer Camp Schedule
Exclusive week for MLK Elementary | Co-ed Ages 8-11 | June 16-19th
This week is set aside just for students at Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy.
Session 2: REGISTRATION FULL!
The Best of The Best | Co-ed Ages 8-13 | June 23-27th
This will be a week filled with the BEST camp activities! Enjoy an awesome week of swimming, rock climbing, biking, fishing, kayaking, team building, arts & crafts, camp fires and fun games of fruit loop wars!
Discovery Camp | Co-ed- Ages 6-8 | June 30-July 2nd
Discovery week is for younger campers who want to get a taste of what camp is all about! Campers experience a fun three day and two night adventure enjoying swimming, arts & crafts, climbing wall, songs, exploring nature and water games!
NEW Session: High School/Keystone Boys & Girls Club Members | July 7-11th
High School week for campers ages 14-17 year old and Keystone Boys & Girls Club Members. Campers will get to participate in a volunteer project, develop essential skills, and participate in all of Camp O’Malley's activities.
Session 4: REGISTRATION FULL!
Middle School Week | Ages 11-14 | July 14-18th
Get ready for a week full of fun events and activities! Campers will experience swimming, tubing, high ropes & low ropes courses, climbing wall, arts & crafts, hanging out with friends and the second annual O'Malley Relay Rally!
Session 5: REGISTRATION FULL!
Super Hero Week | Boys 7-11 | July 21-25th
BOYS ONLY! Bring your favorite super hero costume and come save the day at Camp O'Malley! Have fun rock climbing, swimming, biking and hiking! Come shoot a bow and arrow and make super hero masks! Plus play fun games like Capture The Villain and Super Hero Relay!
Session 6: REGISTRATION FULL!
Girl Power | Girls Ages 7-11 | July 28-August 1st
This week is filled with all things GIRL! Get your nails done at SPA night, wear your favorite dress to the DIVA banquet and have a dance party with your cabin mates! Plus experience all of the awesome events and activities at Camp O'Malley!
Session 7: REGISTRATION FULL!
Adventure Camp | Co-ed Ages 8-12 | August 4th-8th
Get ready for a week packed full of adventure! Experience swimming, kayaking, archery, fishing, team competitions, low ropes, adventure races, talent shows and more!
Be GREAT Gala raises $101,235!
September 15th, 2013
We're celebrating 75 years of serving youth in West Michigan, and in honor of this milestone, we held our fourth annual fundraiser focused on the great achievements of the organization's history and supporters. The BE GREAT Gala was at Thousand Oaks Golf Club (4100 Thousand Oaks Drive, Grand Rapids) from 6-9 p.m. on September 9, 2013
“Seventy-five years investing in youth development says something pretty special about the community in which we live,” said Executive Director Rick Huisman. “The BE GREAT Gala was a night where we celebrated our history, and the $101,235 we were able to raise thanks to our generous supporters will help us invest even more into the future of the Clubs and Camp O’Malley.”
The BE GREAT Gala included the first annual BE GREAT Awards, exciting live auction, delicious food, and live music. Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids had more than 250 supporters as well as prominent citizens and businesses in the Greater Grand Rapids Area in attendance.
The BE GREAT Awards were presented to three recipients who have shown tremendous support of their mission. Peter Secchia received the Outstanding Leadership Award, the Grand Rapids Police Department received the Community Impact Award, and Amway received the Outstanding Business Award.
The night would have not been the same without the support of our numerous sponsors and a special matching gift from Candace & Bruce Matthews, with which we were able to raise $20,000 at the event to sponsor Club members and Campers.
And of course...
“Special thanks to our incredible staff and volunteers for their support in making the BE GREAT event one of the best events in our history. We could not have done it without you!” – Rick Huisman, Executive Director
BE GREAT Staff & Volunteers (in no particular order): Kate Arnold Botma, Kathy Gates, Lynn Kotecki, Becky Reed, Janet Knaus, Lisa Hunter, Bruce Matthews, Barb Hanley, Derek Mason, Kelly Hassberger, Madelon Hassberger, Nan Swanson, Peaches McCahill, Ted Bingham, Sara Schneider, Ray Townsend, Nancy Schondelmayer, Erin Crison, Kevin Little, Zak Knaus, Chris Wilson, Jamie Prawdzik, Casey Stratton, Amanda Alters, Mario Leon, Suzan Guben, Dan Myers, Michael Harris, Sierra Demski, Joel Petroelje, Ryan Huizenga.
And Camp comes to an end for now...
August 8th, 2013
(Photo shows THREE GENERATIONS of Camp O'Malley Campers!)
It is hard to believe how fast the summer flew by here at Camp O'Malley. Each week, Campers enjoyed days filled with making memories, meeting new friends and participating in the many activities at Camp O'Malley. This summer has been an incredible opportunity for Campers to try new things, gain new skills and to do unique things they couldn't do at home. Whether it was climbing the rock wall, flying down the zipline, tubing down the Thornapple River, tye dying a t-shirt, or catching fish and fireflies, Campers had a blast this summer!
During our eight sessions, we were able to welcome kids ages 6-17. Each session had a special theme and Campers and their Counselors were able to dress up and participate in our weekly talent show on the last night of camp. Campers would sing, dance, act and show off all of their fun and unique talents. The talent show was always a highlight for many of our campers. This summer provided a unique opportunity for campers to get outside their comfort zone, try new things, learn new skills and have tons of fun. We believe that all kids deserve a unique experience like a week at summer camp, and we are thrilled to have provided that experience to 592 campers this summer! Although we are sad to see the summer of 2013 go, we are already looking forward to welcoming even more campers next summer!
- Amanda Alters, Camp Director
BGC Glee Week!
June 17th, 2013
This summer at the Clubs and Camp O'Malley, we have a new program as part of our new music programming. It is a Musical Theatre Workshop called "BGC Glee Week." Members and Campers will put together a mini-musical using a scene structure and popular music. Each scene will be improvised within the pre-written storyline about two friends from school who attend a summer camp and struggle against bullying and peer pressure. In the end, their loyalty remains and everyone learns a lesson about appreciating one another for our differences. Participants will audition for the various roles on the first day of each workshop, which will be held for three hours per day Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. The workshop will culminate with a performance on Friday afternoon/evening (Camp O'Malley).
Seidman: June 24-28
Paul I: July 8-12
Camp O'Malley: July 29-August 2
Steil: August 5-9
This workshop is a great way for kids to learn important skills such as working together, listening, movement, acting and singing. Using improvisation to tackle a subject such as bullying is a great way for kids to explore their own feelings and make more sense of the world around them. For more information, contact Music Program Coordinator Casey Stratton at email@example.com or (616) 233-9370 ext 109.
Meet our new Camp Director, Amanda Alters
June 16th, 2013
Camp O'Malley has a great new addition this Summer! Meet Amanda Alters, our new Camp Director! We wanted to get to know her a little better and thought maybe you would too. Read her interview below!
Q: What is your background/experience?
A: Throughout college, I spent my summers working as a camp counselor. Once I graduated from Grand Valley State University, I spent a year working as a coordinator for a nonprofit organization that served children with life threatening illnesses. I was given an opportunity to get back into the camping industry, and I accepted a job at Spring Hill Camps where I served in a variety of roles within the organization.
Q: What drew you to this position?
A: I have always had a strong desire to work with kids in the Grand Rapids community. I was excited that this position would allow me to use my experience in the camping industry and desire to work with children in Grand Rapids.
Q: What was your favorite camp activity as a child?
A: I always loved arts and crafts as a camper. Each year, I would make a friendship bracelet and see how many months I could wear it after camp before it fell apart.
Q: How was your first day of Camp?
A: The first day was GREAT! The energy of our staff was contagious, and the kids were so excited to be back at camp.
Q: What are you looking forward to most?
A: I'm really looking forward to seeing kids get out of their element and try new things at camp. It's always inspiring to see the accomplishment kids feel after they conquer one of their fears by trying something new.
Camp O'Malley raises $11,000 on St. Patrick's Day with the help of McFadden's and Taco Bell
March 20th, 2013
The Owners of McFadden’s, Mark and Michele Sellers hosted the 2nd Annual Shamrocking Party to benefit Camp O’Malley’s Residential Summer Camp for kids from Grand Rapids on Saturday, March 16th at the Irish on Ionia Party downtown Grand Rapids. Funds raised from this party went directly into the 2013 Camper Scholarship Campaign to help send kids to Camp O’Malley who might not otherwise have the funds to pay for a summer Camp experience. The Shamrocking Party, held in the Pearl Room at McFadden’s, offered Irish on Ionia party goers a fun way to support Camp O’Malley’s program with a selection of Irish appetizers, drink specials, and live music. “The Shamrocking Party was a great event again for the second year to help raise money for Camp and everyone had a great time,” commented Michelle Wickens, Board President for the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids.
Volunteers from Camp O’Malley spent hours on the streets of Irish on Ionia selling beads and Irish hats to raise additional funds to send kids to Camp. Bead sales totaled almost $1,000. “A thousand dollars can send four kids to Camp this summer and it was well worth it spending the time outside in order to make Camp a reality for four kids,” explained Becky Missad, Camp Director who was dressed all day in the Good Luck Care Bear costume.
Twenty-two West Michigan Taco Bells also contributed to the cause by selling $1 Shamrock Hat Icons at each of their locations. Stores competed amongst each other on Icon sales to help raise more money for Camp O’Malley. Donated prizes were awarded to the cashier and Taco Bell store that sold the most icons. “We are so grateful to the West Michigan Taco Bells for supporting our organization and helping us raise money to send kids to Camp,” commented Kathy Gates, Development Director for the Boys & Girls Clubs in Grand Rapids.
2013 Camp O'Malley Summer Schedule
February 10th, 2013
ALL 2013 CAMP SESSION ARE CLOSED! HOPE TO SEE YOU NEXT YEAR!
Pre-Camp Staff Training (You will be notified if you are needed to be in attendance for this): May 22-24
Camp Staff Training (all staff): May 28-31, June 3-7
*All staff report the night before each session (Sunday) at 7pm for a weekly required staff meeting.
Session 1 – June 10-13 – MLK Leadership Academy Session – ages 8-11 year olds – CO-ED
This special session is set aside just for Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy students. Join us for the best of the best camp experience filled with swimming, low ropes challenge course, sports, campfires, songs, rock climbing, nature explorations, and much more!
Session 2 – June 17-21 – X-Treme Team Challenge - 11-14 year-old – CO-ED
Do you crave adventure, challenge and excitement? Tackle a different task with your team every day and challenge your skills at the high ropes course, zip line, team competitions, tubing, archery, capture-the-flag and a first ever “O’Malley X-treme Rally” adventure race.
Session 3 – June 24-28 – BEST OF THE BEST - 8-11 year-olds CO-ED
This will be a week filled with all of the BEST camp activities and super fun experiences! Spend the week swimming, climbing the wall, biking, fishing, teambuilding, camp fires, and playing Capture-the-Flag!
Session 4 – July 1-3 – DISCOVERY CAMP – 6-8 year-olds – CO-ED
This camp is a great week for the first-time camper! Campers will get a taste of what camp is all about with this three day, two night experience! Enjoy swimming, arts & crafts, climbing wall, games, songs, exploring nature, and water games!
Session 5 – July 8-12 – HIGH SCHOOL CAMP – 14-17 year-old – CO-ED
This will be a week filled with all of your favorite Camp experiences! Spend the week tubing, canoeing, archery, doing the high ropes course, swimming, biking, teambuilding, and playing an extreme game of Capture-the-Flag! Come and chill with us, meet new people and have a blast!
Session 6 – July 15-19 – GIRLS JUST WANNA HAVE FUN for 11-14 year-old – GIRLS
“Girls just wanna have FUN!” Join this all-girls camp for arts and crafts, swimming, dance parties, late nights, high ropes, tubing, talent shows, relaxing and all your other favorite camp activities!
Session 7 – July 22-26 – SUPER HEROES CAMP – 8-13 year-old – BOYS
Kapow! Spend the week like a superhero would! Join forces with the staff to become the ultimate superhero! Climb walls, make your own comic book, catch a super villain, dress in disguises, swim, and capture-the-flag!
Session 8 – July 29-Aug. 2 - GIRL POWER for 7-11 year-old – GIRLS
During this totally awesome, girls-only session, you will be able to relax by the pool, get papered at Spa Night, express yourself at the talent show, exercise to hip hop, make new friends, and tap into your inner girl power! Red carpet dinner night is also the annual highlight of this week! Don’t miss out!
Camp O'Malley became ACA-Accredited®!
November 15th, 2012
The American Camp Association® (ACA) announced today that Camp O’Malley has received ACA-Accredited® Camp status for the 2013 summer camp season.
"ACA Accreditation means that Camp O’Malley submitted to a thorough (up to 300 standards) review of its operation by the American Camp Association (ACA) — from staff qualifications and training to emergency management — and complied with the highest standards in the industry," said Cindy Moore, National Standards Commission.
"Parents expect their children to attend accredited schools. They also deserve a camp experience that is reviewed and accredited by an expert, independent organization," Moore said.
Camp O’Malley and ACA form a partnership that promotes summers of growth and fun in an environment committed to safety," said Becky Missad, Director of Camp O’Malley, "ACA accreditation demonstrates our commitment to quality camp programming."
Camp O’Malley was founded in 1942 by the Grand Rapids Police Department’s Chief of Police, Frank O’Malley and is located in Alto, Michigan. The camp is a program of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. Camp O’Malley operates from June to August and offers scholarships to all who qualify. Sessions typically last from three to five days for eight weeks. For more information, parents can contact the camp at 616-233-9370 ext. 106, or visit the camp's Web site at www.campomalley.org.
ACA is the only independent accrediting organization reviewing camp operations in the country. Its nationally-recognized standards program focuses primarily on the program quality, health and safety aspects of a camp's operation. ACA collaborates with experts from the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, and other youth-serving agencies to assure that current practices at the camp reflect the most up-to-date, research-based standards in camp operation. For more parent-focused information about accreditation, visit ACA's www.CampParents.org.
Camp O'Malley reaches new heights this summer!
August 27th, 2012
Warm and fun memories of tubing, fishing, splashing around in the pool, singing crazy camp songs, seeing wild animals up close, and flying down the zip line fill the minds of Campers who attended Camp O’Malley this summer as they anticipate the beginning of the school year. The Camp just completed another successful summer serving 584 campers over an 8 week period; a 22% increase in attendance from last year. Since 2011 Camp O’Malley has built a new cabin, added a week of camp, established a new partnership with the Outdoor Discovery Center, and is working their way toward an American Camping Association Accreditation.
Camp O’Malley is growing! For years, the camp has been only able to serve 72 campers at a time. With the addition of our new cabin, Camp O’Malley is able to serve 80 more kids in a summer. On the opening day of the Camp season, Camp O’Malley welcomed 83 bright-eyed and excited Campers. “Our dining hall was packed! It’s an exciting problem to run out of chairs in our Dining Hall. It’s all a part of growing,” commented Ceara Goree, Lead Camp Staff.
In an effort to attract more campers, the Camp has expanded the camper age requirements from 8 through 14 year-olds to 6 through 17 year-olds by adding two new themed sessions to the Camp program. The Discovery Camp session geared towards 6-8 year-olds was designed to for the first-time camper allowing them to get a taste of what camp is all about with a three day, two night experience. The High School Adventure Week allowed older campers to continue experiencing their favorite camp activities and meet new friends. Both of the new weeks of camp were well accepted by parents and attendance was at or near capacity for both weeks.
With the new found partnership with the Outdoor Discovery Center (ODC) based in Holland, Camp O’Malley is now able to offer Environmental Education opportunities for the Campers. Each camper had the opportunity to participate ODC’s educationally and environmentally focused programs during their time at Camp. Campers enjoyed many different wild animal demonstrations, habitat explorations on the Camp’s nature trails, and lessons on our Wetlands. “We’re excited about our new partnership with Camp O’Malley and had a great time working with the kids at camp this summer,” commented Jamie Krupka, Program Director at the Outdoor Discovery Center. In addition to the programs offered by the ODC, the ODC staff also provided training to the Camp O’Malley staff on facilitating educational nature walks and the basics on archery instruction.
Camp O’Malley has been working for over a year to have the Camp Accredited through the American Camping Association (ACA) and the Camp will receive word in October if they have received this important Accreditation. What does Accreditation mean? It means that Camp O’Malley has worked to ensure that over 300 ACA health, safety, and program quality standards are in compliance this national accrediting organization of leading camp professionals. This Accreditation process has allowed our Camp leadership to be educated in the administration of key aspects of camp operation, especially those related to program quality and the health and safety of campers and staff. “We are very excited about this accreditation and believe it will allow us to serve more campers in the most safe and effective way,” mentioned Rick Huisman, Executive Director.
Camp O’Malley serves kids ages 6-17 through a residential summer Camp experience. No child is ever turned away because they cannot afford to pay. This summer, 89% of our Campers fell below the poverty line qualifying them for a Camper Scholarship. Campers who attend our adventure Camp participate activities like the climbing wall, swimming, canoeing, tubing, high ropes course, team-building, low ropes, sports, arts & crafts, hiking, biking, fishing, dance, archery, healthy living, and nature exploration.