Major Project at Indian Trails Camp

To be sure, we are in the midst of very uncertain times, with many unknowns.  In 1952 the founders of Indian Trails Camp dealt with very different unknowns, as they worked through the complex challenges and rewarding experiences of tent camping in Aman Park.

Today this modest tent camp for children with disabilities has grown to be the most accessible camping experience in Michigan.  Campers enjoy sleeping in cabins, dining in the knotty pine lodge, swimming in the John W. Bertsch Aquatic Center, playing on the splash pad, and so much more.

Sadly, Camp has been temporarily closed, but we will re-open…  our campers are depending on us!  With all of the uncertainty, we don’t know exactly when, but we know that it will; and we must be ready to welcome our beloved campers when that day comes.

To that end, when the Kate Pew Wolters Center was constructed the City of Grand Rapids connected city water to the building, and we committed to the City to connect Camp to the public water system.  This major investment will significantly improve the overall experience for our campers, as evidenced by the many water-based activities highlighted above.

The engineering design and permitting process took over a year, and last week we began construction.   As you can imagine, the timing is delicate.  Both in terms of the current health crisis and the seasonal window of opportunity to complete construction.

Under Governor Whitmer’s Executive Order 2020-21 (COVID-19), Grand Rapids City Manager Mark Washington’s Administrative Order on March 23, and City Engineer Tim Burkman’s direction, these construction and inspection activities have been deemed “essential” and are able to continue.

Fortunately the skilled laborers are safely working outside, and dispersed over dozens of acres.  Further, they are not disrupting critical services as long as they are making progress.  Indian Trails Camp continues to be very appreciative of the support and cooperation from the City of Grand Rapids and Tallmadge Township’s leadership teams.

Over the past few months committed individuals, foundations and organizations have generously donated to the project.  Unfortunately this enormous undertaking is draining more resources than anticipated, and last year alone we spent over $20,000 repairing our current water supply system.  In order to welcome our campers back as soon as it is safe to re-open, we are asking for your help.

Perhaps you’ve enjoyed a camping experience, and want to ensure that every one –of all abilities– has the opportunity to experience all that Indian Trails Camp has to offer.  We are asking you to help us reach our water supply goal of raising $100,000.

We realize that there are many individuals and organizations in need given the current health situation, and the timing of this request is awkward, to say the very least.  But we are trying to continue providing the memorable experiences campers have enjoyed for decades, so any donation amount would be greatly appreciated.

Please consider making a gift today.


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