When it comes to summer fun, nothing beats camp.
Hiking, outdoor games, archery, lake fun and sing-a-longs are the traditional play of summer, but for many children, having such an experience is out of reach. Enter Camp Classen.
The YMCA Camp Classen has been providing campers, young and old alike, with unforgettable memories since the 1920s. Nestled in the Arbuckle Mountains near Davis, Oklahoma, YMCA Camp Classen offers camp facilities year-round. Of course, overnight summer camp is the busiest time of year, when thousands of kids come together to enjoy horseback riding, canoeing, rock climbing, games, arts and crafts, fellowship and so much more.
For two business leaders in Oklahoma City, Camp Classen is also a passion, allowing them to give back to the community that supports them as well.
SUPPORTING THE KIDS
Dustin and Holly Chilcoat own Monte Cristo Ironworks, a design company that specializes in designing and manufacturing ornamental iron doors. The work is handcrafted with a mixture of traditional techniques and complemented by the use of modern applications. They also support YMCA Camp Classen every year, helping children discover confidence, friendship and the outdoors.
"I discovered Camp Classen when I was teaching in Moore Public Schools," Holly says. "It was something the school participated in every year during the
fall. This is a true outdoor classroom. This is a science teacher’s dream. Teaching science really comes alive when you are on trails with students getting to interact with nature."
Campers build confidence, gain independence and leave with a better sense of responsibility. Additionally, Camp Classen works with school districts to provide Outdoor Education, an immersive week at camp where students learn in the outdoors.
"Students are able to participate in activities like horseback riding, archery, canoeing and even life/survival skills like fire-making," Holly says. "We’ve had kids that were terrified of horses and then ended up being their favorite thing at camp. I had one student that had ever picked up a bow before hit a bull's-eye on the target. They are able to come out of their shell and discover new interests and talents."
For many of the children, time at Camp Classen is the first time they have been away from home. For Holly and Dustin, the camp enriches their lives as well.
"This is a time for us to serve the community and specifically the younger generation," Holly says. "It allows for us to be positive mentors."