The Rapidian

Camp O'Malley gets ready to open its cabin doors to a great summer

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Campers carefully cross the high ropes course located at Camp O'Malley.

Campers carefully cross the high ropes course located at Camp O'Malley.

Football campers gather together for a group photo.

Football campers gather together for a group photo.

Privilege is a word that many people may not associate with summer camp. The idea of sending a child away for a week or more of summer enrichment in education, the arts, sports, etc. does not seem like an unusually unique act, but think about that child who has never been to summer camp. He has never gotten to stay in a cabin or participate in the high or low ropes courses. Summer camp to him becomes a highly unique experience.

Camp O'Malley, located in Alto, MI just 20 minutes outside of Grand Rapids, has begun its summer registration for youth ages 8-14. Camp is set to begin its first session on June 14. Started in 1941, Camp O'Malley is operated by Boys & Girls Clubs of Grand Rapids Youth Commonwealth. Its mission is to build the character of youth through recreation, education and positive community experiences in partnership with the Grand Rapids Police Department.

Often children just want to get away from their parents and learn on their own. Camp O'Malley provides a safe and fun place for youth to explore themselves through a variety of activities. Different sessions focus on different activities, but the Camp includes opportunities to swim, go on bicycle rides, fish, rock climb, conquer the high and low ropes courses, canoe and tube down the Thornapple River, hit a target on the archery field, create arts & crafts masterpieces, engage in challenging sports activities and many others.

"We really try to engage our campers in a variety of activities that teach them through hands-on learning and help them develop lasting relationships with fellow campers and staff," said Camp O'Malley Director Becky Reed. "At the end of each session, we like to see our campers begging their parents to sign up for one more week!"

Summer camp provides something outside of a child's normal academic and home life, and Camp O'Malley strives to ensure that all youth have the chance to experience such a meaningful adventure. To achieve this, the Camp offers programs to families according to their financial need. This may reduce the cost of one session to as low as $35, even though the actual cost for the Camp per camper is close to $300. If a child qualifies for the free or reduced price lunch program at their school, they will generally qualify to receive this rate. If the child does not qualify for this program, Camp O'Malley offers a sliding fee scale to determine cost.

For more information on how to get your youth enrolled in a summer camp experience that is bound to leave them coming back for more every summer, contact Becky Reed at 616.871.6551 or [email protected].

For more photographs/video of Camp O'Malley, click here.

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