News from the Camp Director
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.
Summer, Camp O'Malley Style
July 25th, 2012
By: Stacy Michell
While most of my friends have been willing away the summer months making burritos or playing video games, I have been living every moment to the fullest at Camp O’Malley. This is not your typical summer job. It is simultaneously the most difficult and most rewarding job I have ever had. You’re probably wondering what has been happening this summer at camp. Let me take you through a week of summer, Camp O’Malley style.
On Monday morning, a new batch of campers timidly arrive at Camp. The returning campers squeal and run to hug their old friends and favorite counselors. Some campers are excited, but most are nervous as they shyly meet their new counselor and cabin mates. That day the counselors work hard to build a sense of family in their cabin, teach the safety rules, and make sure that everyone is having fun and excited about the rest of the week. Even the nervous campers can’t help but smile when they get to jump into the pool for a refreshing swim. On Tuesday, the campers begin their workshops. By this time they’ve made friends with some other kids in their cabin, and now they get to meet some new kids by joining a workshop group. With their workshop group, campers go on nature adventures, ride bikes, float down the river in tubes or canoes, aim for the bulls eye in archery, and show their bravery on the high ropes course. It is a special moment when a beaming camper turns around to look at his counselor after he overcame his fear and climbed to the top of the rock wall. After venturing out for workshops, campers return to their cabin family for meals and cabin time. Here they get a little down time to share about their day, read or listen to a book, or take a nap. Being a camper is hard work after all.
Night time in the woods can seem like a scary time for a kid who has always lived in the city. Not at Camp O’Malley, if you peeked in a cabin you might see campers having a balloon party, or sitting on the floor braiding each other’s hair and telling stories. If you keep watch through the trees, you might see the flashlights of a sneaky counselor taking their cabin for a night hike or a kitchen raid. When it’s bedtime, the campers barely hear the first chapter of their bedtime story before their busy day has them zonked out for the night. This brings us to Thursday, the night before the campers go home. We celebrate with a talent show. The campers and their counselors show off their skills with songs, dances, skits and more. On Friday morning, the campers get busy packing up and saying their goodbyes, exchanging phone numbers and addresses with their new friends. They yell “Find me on Facebook!” to each other and ask their favorite counselors to sign their t-shirt. In one short week, they have met new friends, tried new things, and gained some independence. It was my job to guide them through all of that and while it is not easy, each moment was totally worth it.
Help Us Win! Vote Now!
June 28th, 2012
Erhardt Construction is celebrating its 50th Anniversary by recognizing and supporting the work of people and organizations that are serving others in our community. Together with their project partners, Erhardt is giving away a construction project and prizes totaling $50,000 to area non-profit organizations through our Building Our Community contest.
Erhardt will award one “Grand Prize”. The “Grand Prize” will be a construction project on property owned or operated by the winning charity within Kent or Ottawa County, Michigan. The “Grand Prize” will be valued at $45,000. The “Grand Prize” will be awarded to the eligible charity that receives the most votes.
Help Boys & Girls Clubs of GRYC win this contest! All you have to do is vote and spread the word to your friends and family to support all the hardwork this organization does for the future of our youth!