News from the Camp Director

2016 Camp O'Malley Sessions

January 10th, 2016

Session 1: June 20-23 | MLK Week (Ages 8-12)

This special session is set aside just for Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Academy students. A thrilling week of adventure awaits those students who come to experience the best that Camp O’ Malley has to oer. Swimming, biking, campres, rock climbing, shing, and more! Important: This session does not accept online registrations.

Session 2: June 27-July 1 | Super Hero Week (Ages 8-12)

Grab your suitcase and your favorite super hero costume and y (or drive) on out to Camp O’ Malley. Super Heroes will have to work together and use their amazing creativity to counteract the villains and stop the spread of their negative inuences.

Session 3: July 6- July 8 | “Where The Wild Things Are” Week (Ages 6-8)

Let the Wild Rumpus Start! We mean – calling all 6-8 year olds. Come on out to Camp O’ Malley for 3 days of adventure and discovering truly what wild things exist at Camp. No need to grow a forest in your bedroom, because we have plenty of forest right here. So come on out and join the fun.

Session 4: July 11-15 | Holiday Week (Ages 8-13)

What’s this – Christmas in the summer? That’s right, Camp O’ Malley will be committing a whole week to celebrating some of our favorite holidays along with the festivities and traditions that make these holidays truly special to us.

Session 5: July 18-22 | “Mission Impossible” Week (Ages 12-14)

Are you ready for Mission Impossible – not “Rogue Nation” – but Camp O’ Malley? Join us as we embark on a variety of special missions with our fellow cabin mates and some pretty cool sta! Whether your mission is to try a zip line for the rst time, scale the climbing wall, or just make new friends, our goal at Camp is to help make the Impossible, Possible.

Session 6: July 25-29 | Survivor Week (Ages 10-13)

Are you a survivor? Well, come nd out for sure at Camp O’ Malley’s Survivor Week. Throughout the week you will get to complete in friendly competitions to see which cabin is once and for all – “The Sole Survivor”!

Session 7: August 1-5 | Olympics Week (Ages 8-12)

Think you have what it takes to compete in the Olympics? Well, perhaps you’re not quite ready for the Olympics to take place this summer in Rio, but then there are always the Camp O’ Malley Olympics. That’s right, this summer the Olympics will be coming to Camp O’ Malley and you are one of the featured athletes. Start training and get ready for all of the fun and fanfare that make the Olympics (and the athletes who participate) so special.

Session 8: August 8-12 | Adventure Week (Ages 8-12)

Pack your bags and get ready for one of the greatest adventures of your life! Camp O’ Malley will be punctuating the end of its summer season with a week full of fun, adventure, and making memories. Help us end the 2016 Camp season in style by signing up today and joining us for an “adventure of a lifetime”.


#1 alan pawloski said:

my kids have been going here for 4 years now and they love it but now that you lower the age limit they cant go and they really loved it I wish you could make more of them at a 14 or 15 age limit and what ever happend to high school night

#2 Melissa Valkier said:

I went here probably 20 years ago. I had so much fun. I wish I would have known they were still opened. I would have sent my daughter there. Great experience. Thank you for the memories.

#3 Toria M said:

Why are so many sessions only for ages 8-12 why isn't there one week for ages 13-15? Other more expensive camps offer this can you have at least one week for teens ?

#4 Toria M said:

Why are so many sessions only for ages 8-12 why isn't there one week for ages 13-15? Other more expensive camps offer this can you have at least one week for teens ?

#5 Aarie said:

No Girl Power Week? My girls love it here... THey will be happy either way!

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Peter Secchia Family breaks ground on Camp expansion project

August 12th, 2015

The Peter Secchia family, along with local dignitaries, broke ground on Tuesday, Aug. 11, at Camp O’Malley on a $500,000 dining room renovation project that will also include the expansion of outdoor dining area and a barbeque pit.

Since 1942, Camp O’Malley, which is operated by Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth, has provided a world class camp experience each summer for the region's most underserved youth. The Secchia Family Foundation provided the gift through the camp's Building Bridges for Brighter Futures Capital Campaign.

"We are extremely grateful to the entire Secchia family and the Secchia Family Foundation for this very generous gift," said Rick Huisman, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids. "Each year, we are reminded just how special Camp O'Malley is for so many Campers. We have each come to know the power of this Camp, and what the great outdoors can do to completely change the life of a child. Through this gift from the Secchia family, we will be able to provide more space for Campers to dine, more space to go during inclement weather, and a beautiful outdoor space where Campers may enjoy dining and relaxing outdoors."

Camp O'Malley is located on 40 acres of beautiful woods on the banks of the Thornapple River southeast of Grand Rapids, The project is expected to be completed in Spring 2016.

See more photos of this event!


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Meet NEW Camp O'Malley Director!

June 10th, 2015

It's time to get to know our NEW! Camp Director Tim Horton a little better...

Q: What is your background? What did you do before Camp O’Malley?


A: I have a bachelor's degree from Ferris State University in Recreation Management, and a Master's Degree from Central Michigan in Administration of Leisure Services. I have worked in other camp settings including a camp for emotionally impaired youth. I worked for several years in a school-based behavioral treatment program, in a residential treatment center, and even taught for three years. Prior to coming to Camp O' Malley, I was a transporter/youth care worker and a Family Treatment Facilitator.  I even worked some construction for a year or so.  

Q: What are you most excited about this Summer?

A: What excites me most about Camp is the opportunity to give young people who have had limited opportunities and experiences a chance to be at Camp and just enjoy being a kid.

Q: Did you go to camp as a child? What is your favorite camp memory?

A: I remember going to camp as a child and still have many vivid memories of those camp experiences. There is just something very unique and special about the summer camp environment. Specifically, I remember going swimming every day and getting to know new people. Though I would often miss home and my family, in the end it turned out to be a valuable growth experience for me.  

Q: What unique experiences does Camp O’Malley provide youth?

A: Though sometimes individuals are not always certain about the benefits of camp, I would encourage anybody and everybody who has the opportunity to come to camp (especially Camp O' Malley) to take advantage of it while they can. There will come a day when those opportunities, like going to camp, are no longer available, and you may perhaps look back with regret. However, for those of you who still are of camp age, Camp O' Malley is replete with activities that will challenge you, humor you, encourage you, and help you meet new friends. Whether it's our ropes course, our climbing wall, our swimming pool, or the Up and Over Wall, Camp O' Malley has always been, and will continue to be, that special place for kids to have fun, discover new things, and create memories they can cherish for a lifetime.      

Q: What’s a hidden talent you have?

A: Something unique about me is that I am an avid Ultimate Frisbee player, and have been known to throw a Frisbee almost the full distance of a football field.    


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Camp Clean-Up A Success!

April 14th, 2015

On Saturday April 11th, 40 volunteers joined us at Camp O’Malley to help get the camp ready for summertime! Volunteers came from various organizations including GE Aviation, the Grand Rapids Police Department, Grand Valley State University and the Seidman Torch Club.

It was a beautiful day and the volunteers did a fantastic job raking leaves, cleaning up the cabins, organizing the gym and arts & crafts hall, and much more. Our Campers will greatly appreciate all of the hard work!

A big thank you to all of the volunteers who joined us on Saturday. It is our vision to create a world-class camp experience for the kids in our community, providing them with fun, safe recreation in the outdoors. Thank you for helping us make this vision a reality!

Want to get more involved? Find out more here.


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Camp O'Malley Summer 2015 Schedule

February 11th, 2015

Leadership Training: May 26-29  
All Staff Training: June 1-5, June 8-12

Session 1: June 15-18 | Safari Week (Ages 8-12) 
EXCLUSIVE WEEK FOR MLK ELEMENTARY STUDENTS. Campers get ready for an adventure packed week at camp. Enjoy adventure competitions, biking, rock climbing, swimming, sports, zip lining and more!  

Session 2: June 22-26 | Holiday Week! (Ages 8-13)
Celebrate Valentine's Day, Halloween, and Christmas. Campers get to trick or treat, exchange presents with other cabins and make valentines for one another. 

Session 3: June 29-July 1 | Safari Week (Ages 6-8) 
Frogs and turtles and birds oh my! Grab your binoculars and join us as we go on a safari all around Camp O’Malley! Campers will make their own safari vest and binoculars to wear on our rainforest adventure! 

Session 4: July 6-10 | Zombie Week (Ages 12-14)
Get ready for zombie hunts throughout the camp! Have fun dressing up like zombies or be a part of the team that fights them off! 

Session 5: July 13-17 | Girl Power! (All Girls Ages 8-12) 
Girl power is all about balancing out all that fun camp action with some awesome girl time. You can expect manicures, pedicures and face masks when you aren’t conquering our high ropes course or showing the world how awesome you are at fruit loop wars!

Session 6: July 20-24 | Survivor Week (Ages 10-13)
Campers will get to compete against other “tribes” for fun daily competitions. Who will be the last cabin to survive? Sign up and find out! 

Session 7: July 27-31 | Hollywood Week (All Girls Ages 7-11)
Get ready as we roll out the red carpet for our special DIVA banquet. Girls will enjoy spa night, laugh at our Miss America Pageant, and enjoy a night of karaoke… singing songs from their favorite Hollywood artists. 

Session 8: August 3-7 | Super Hero Week (Ages 8-12)
Bring a costume of your favorite superhero or make one at camp! Campers will use their strength, agility and super powers to play super hero games like capture the villain and save the counselor!


#1 Mellisa Cook said:

When can we register our campers?

#2 nancy Ojenus said:

I would like to know how to register

#3 melissa said:

how do i register for session 5 and also my daughter went to camp last summer for 5$ how do i go about bought that again this up coming summer

#4 kerri said:

When can we register?

#5 Tracy Powell said:

I was wondering when I can register my son, he is 13yo adopted and would like him to experience camp omally as I did 40 years ago! I am a disabled veteran on a fixed income! I get 1200$/month with 4children! And is there any help to cover the cost of the camp!
Thank you
Tracy Powell


Is there not a teen week this year?

#7 Jessica Samczyk said:

I would like to register 3 children for camp. Is there any help for cost?

#8 Alicia Sayer said:

I would like to know the cost per child I have two and would love for them to experience what I did back when I went to this camp when I was 9 that was back 21 years ago but I did have a lot of fun there =D Thanks

#9 terrie said:

registration has already begun google camp omalley registration

#10 Stephanie said:

Has the teen Girl Power been removed from the schedule? I thought there were more opportunities for the young teens in the past...:(

#11 No Name said:

I would just like to leave a comment that my kids went 2 years ago to one of the weeks in camp and had a great time. Camp O' Malley is a great place to meet new friends and new people. They said it was a fun week full of activties and most of the time great foods.(My children are very picky) but, they will be going once again this year and having a great time between different cabin groups.

#12 Tanya halbower said:

Is it too late to sign my 9 year old boy up for the last week. He is struggling here at home with an older sibling and needs some away time.

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What a Summer! Camp O'Malley Wrap Up!

August 20th, 2014

Another wonderful summer at Camp O’Malley has come to a close. Whether it was riding down the zipline, roasting a s’more over the campfire, catching a fish on the Thornapple River, or learning how to swim, Campers had a blast trying new things this summer at Camp O’Malley. We had more Campers than ever, welcoming 624 kids from Grand Rapids and the surrounding areas.  

This summer we added a new garden thanks to the support of Farmers Insurance and The Amir Project. The garden became a highlight for Campers as they helped tend to it each day. Some Campers even got to pick a variety of the vegetables as they became ready. Our chefs then prepared the vegetables, and Campers were able to eat the zucchini and squash that they picked during the week. Campers were able to learn that food needs to be grown and taken care of not and that it is not just something you get at the store.

Campers were also able to visit with horses each week thanks to the Kent County Sheriff’s Department. Kent County Deputies brought horses from the Kent County Mounted Unit for Campers to learn all about and interact with. Our Campers really enjoyed it! In addition to horses, Campers also got to learn about birds, reptiles and amphibians thanks to our partnership with the Outdoor Discovery Center of Holland.

We are so thankful for all the individuals, corporations, and foundations that helped make Camp possible for our Campers this summer! More than 90% of our Campers came to Camp on scholarship, meaning that without the support of others they would have otherwise not been able to attend. This summer, Camp O’Malley has allowed so many children to make memories and gain new skills that will stay with them forever!


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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.



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2014 Summer Camp Sessions!

December 17th, 2013

2014 Summer Camp Schedule

Session 1:
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.

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!

Session 3:
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.

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!

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!

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!

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!


#1 mandie fox said:

I need registration papers for session 2 for 2 girls ages 9 and 10.
My address is 1405 mark gr Mi 49525

#2 Jazzmyn White said:

I am very interested in getting my daughter in summer camp. She has never been so please cal me and let me know the process. 3132879928

#3 Racahel Jones said:

How do you register your child for 2014 summer camp?

#4 Linna Milligan said:

Do you have to live in Kent County or can you live outside of the county like Ionia County? I went to Camp O'Malley when I was younger and I am interested in sending my daughter to camp that way she is not bored all summer long.

#5 Chrystal Groelsma said:

I was wondering how to get my children registered and also will you have another GLEE inspired week of camp this year I was reading and seen last years and I know my daughter would love to attend a GLEE week at camp. Also the younger camper week is that the same price as a full week of camp or is it a different price? Thank you

#6 Eva said:

My girls love your camp this is the 3rd year in a row for them!! They wish they could do more then 1 session in a summer!! BEST CAMP ever

#7 Garry Strong said:

I want to send my daughters to summer camp for the first time. I want them to go together but when trying to sign up it says only one camper can join this event. Why is this?

#8 nisheikaboone said:

I need to know the fees for session 7

#9 Martin said:

Can you scan me over some paperwork regarding session 7 for 3 kids?


#10 Romeyne Cloud said:

I would love for my daughter to go to camp. Is there a wait list or cancellation list for the sessions that are full? She is 8 years old.
Thank you!

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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.

Check out photos on Facebook or on our Website!

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.


#1 Maureen Mead said:

Is that the Nan Swanson who taught at Catholic Central in the 80s? I've been trying to find her! Can you put me in contact with her?

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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


#1 Don Harper said:

It was so nice meeting you two at the river clean-up. Please feel free to contact me if you need help with any projects around the camp.

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Our Mission

To enable all young people to reach their full potential as responsible citizens through education, recreation, and other positive community experiences in partnership with the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Contact Us

for direct numbers to specific departments and staff visit the contact page.

Admin/Steil Club


(616) 233.9370

235 Straight Ave NW
Grand Rapids, MI

Paul I. Phillips Club


(616) 719.0775

726 Madison Ave SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Seidman Club


(616) 452.0061

139 Crofton Street SE
Grand Rapids, MI

Camp O'Malley


(616) 871.6551

7360 Thornapple Dales
Alto, MI