This summer, the annual ISSDA Camp brought well over 100 boys and girls from across the state of Iowa to the Des Moines Y Camp from June 19th - June 25th. Throughout the week, the campers aged 9 - 14 spend their mornings in their "pathways"; an hour-long session where kids get a more in-depth experience with a field of their choice. They get to choose between various activities such as drama, soccer, nature, archery, etc.
The campers are then given the afternoons to create their own schedules. They get the chance to swim in the pool and use other program areas, like horseback riding, archery, and rock wall climbing. After dinner, the campers are taken to evening programs. Each evening program provided the kids a unique way to introduce them to character values and also teach them lessons in character development and social skills.
Not only does camp teach them valuable skills, it also helps them build the confidence they will need throughout their life. For many of the kids that come to camp, this is their first time away from home for an extended period of time. On the first night at camp, one camper missed home so much that he cried during dinner just an hour after being dropped off. With the love and support from his leaders and fellow cabin mates, by the end of the week, he walked out of honor point with his arms around two of his closest friends and said "I can't believe I ever thought about leaving!"
Through the ISSDA Camp, kids from all different backgrounds are brought to a place where they can leave their insecurities and stresses of life behind and be carefree for a week. For many of these kids, the Sheriff's and Deputies' program is the only chance they will ever have to experience camp. These campers learn to be confident, make lifelong friendships, and obtain new life skills that they may not have learned without camp. When the campers go home on Saturday, it is hard for many of them to part with their leaders and their new friends, but they will be carrying with them a heart full of memories that will last them a lifetime. Y Camp looks forward to continuing a partnership with the ISSDA and hopes to provide campers with this amazing opportunity for years to come.