Featured Grant Stories

Grant Funds Outdoor Skills and Character Pop-up Camps

June 18, 2024

By La Crosse Community Foundation

Free pop-up camps to be held throughout La Crosse County

children enjoying indoor pop-up camp activity as it rains outsideMore than 350 local youth will be able to attend free outdoor skills and character day camps this summer. La Crosse Area Community Foundation provided a $10,000 grant to the Gateway Area Council, Scouting America, to create and host the camps across several communities in La Crosse County.

Gateway Area Council Scout Executive/CEO Joe Carlson said the camps are designed for children in grades 2-6 to offer hands-on opportunities to develop practical outdoor skills and build character.

Traditional camp activities part of the fun

“Campers will get to try archery, outdoor cooking, and team-building challenges; receive first aid training; build bird feeders; participate in traditional camp activities; and explore new hobbies,” said Carlson. “The activities build practical skills and foster confidence, resilience, and a sense of community.”

Pop-up camps fill community need

According to the Great Rivers United Way’s last Compass Now Report, two in five households rated opportunities for youth to explore interests and participate in positive activities as poor or fair. Carlson said the camps will directly address this gap, providing local youth with enriching experiences and valuable life skills.

Forming friendships and social connections

“We want all children to have opportunities like these not just for the skills and character building, but also because they build social connections to create a more vibrant, inclusive community,” said Jamie Schloegel, CEO of La Crosse Area Community Foundation. “These camps allow children from different backgrounds to form friendships and social connections that will benefit the entire community.”

Register for a future camp

Future camps are scheduled for July 29 and July 31 at Camp Decorah, August 6 in Bangor, August 7 in West Salem, and August 8 at Goose Island.

“In addition to teaching practical skills, the camps will build social connections and reduce isolation by bringing together children and families from diverse backgrounds,” said Carlson. “Participants will also receive take-home outdoor adventure kits to encourage continued exploration and learning.”

Families can find more information and register their children at gatewayscouting.org/skillscamps or by calling 608-784-4040.