Camp Fire Heart of Oklahoma


“Camp DaKaNi Pond Renovation”

According to Oklahoma’s Teacher of the Year selection committee, neither salary nor funding was the biggest challenge facing teachers. It’s “their students’ adverse childhood experiences.” Oklahoma ranks highest nationally in adverse childhood experiences, resulting in poor student achievement, discipline issues, and lower graduation rates.

Youth are lonelier and more anxious than ever before. Suicide rates are soaring. Kids are hungry for real, authentic connections. One of our program directors relates her personal story of connection. Nicole and her sister grew up with gang violence. Nicole found Camp Fire. Her sister did not. Their life paths look very different. Nicole credits her success and resiliency to Camp Fire.

Nature is a powerful antidote to the anxiety created by the constant slog of technology. Our pond, central to the camp experience, is in disrepair. Fishing teaches youth patience and environmental stewardship. To ensure our pond is safe and maintained, it must be drained and the eroded islands removed, dug deeper and wider to improve the fish habitat, and relined with Bentonite to stop leaking and reduce erosion. A covered fishing dock, boathouse and launch would enhance program quality and safety.

Since 1929, Camp Fire has helped 5,000 children thrive every year through outdoor camps, field trips, after-school programs, and service-learning and teen clubs. We collaborate with many local nonprofits, including Positive Tomorrows, ReMerge, and Oklahoma Fosters.

A grant would not only improve our campers’ experiences, it would allow more funds diverted toward scholarships for under-served kids who need outdoor experiences the most.