2022 Y-camp Success Story

The long-standing partnership between the Iowa State Sheriffs and Deputies Association and the Des Moines Y Camp continues to create powerful moments that are both life-changing and impactful. This summer was another example of the importance of the camp experience for the kids and the communities they come from. Campers came from 60 counties across the state and, with the help of their coordinating sheriff’s offices, completed their registration in preparation for a great week.

On Sunday, June 19th, the first campers arrived with their deputies wearing big smiles and excitement in their eyes. More often than not, they lit up at the sight of the water slides at the pool or the mention of horse rides as they came through check-in. Once they connected with their cabins, they were off and beginning their great week.

Each day was filled with activities that ranged from arts and crafts to fishing to climbing the rock wall and more! Each morning they participated in Pathways, which were electives campers signed up for on Monday. Through them, they had an opportunity to go more in depth on things like archery, soccer, nature and drama. By the afternoon, campers were back with their cabins and venturing around camp to experience all it had to offer. After dinner each day there were evening programs, many focused on character development, which mixed fun songs and skits with more serious stories and discussion of living by the YMCA Core Values of Caring, Honesty, Respect and Responsibility. The Trail of Five Fires, Inspiration Point, Aunt Fifi, the Arty Show (Camper Talent Show) and Honor Point were some of the special, traditional camp programs that have been taking place for generations and that campers had an opportunity to participate in this year.

At the end of the week we celebrated the growth in independence and confidence, the new relationships made, the things we’d accomplished and campers who’d exemplified the Core Values throughout the Honor Point program. It was an emotional night, filled with tearful goodbyes and finished by candlelight in the quiet shadow of the Y Camp woods. Honor Point is a special program that reflects on and celebrates the week the campers had, and this year there was a lot to celebrate.

By the time Saturday morning came around and campers clambered into their cars with their fragrant bedding and camp clothes, they were exhausted and filled with the empowerment of knowing that at camp they belong and are always welcome. As we reflect on yet another successful ISSDA Camp program, we’re also thankful to be partners in such a powerful opportunity for our youth and are proud to work with such committed sheriffs and deputies across the state to make it happen.