Have you ever seen those signs for the Sherwood Forest Camp when walking down Sutton? I had seen the sign many times but I didn’t know anything about it and I didn’t see any kids running around. It turns out that Maplewood is home to the headquarters of the Sherwood Forest Camp, a camp with a great mission and a worthy cause. The actual camp is located in Lesterville, MO and serves economically disadvantaged kids, giving them the traditional summer camp experience while preparing them to achieve in their futures.
Sherwood Forest campers range in ages between the 1st and 9th grades. As the children grow older the camp experience broadens and increases in length. The youngest children go for a 5 day session designed to introduce them to camp life. For many of the campers this is their first time away from home. As the campers grow older the camp programs get longer and more intensive culminating in a leadership program that includes college visits, community service, interview training and camp counselor training programs along with traditional camping activities.
Campers who successfully complete the leadership program and graduate from camp are eligible the following summer to return as employees and serve as camp counselors. The beauty of the program is that it doesn’t just serve the kids as a day camp to stow the kids away during the summer; it helps the campers to become better people. The activities in camp play an important role in giving the campers positive experiences that will give them a step up later in life.
The Sherwood Forest camp only charges campers $50 for the whole camp but the daily costs incurred for each camper adds up to significantly more than $50 per day. Most of Sherwood Forest's funding comes from contributions from generous community members and from special fundraising events. Sherwood Forest Camp has been running for 75 years and to celebrate their 75th anniversary they are hosting a Blue Jean Ball and inviting back all of their graduates to share in the experience. Unfortunately, I was just able to visit the headquarters and didn’t get to experience the camp but it looks and sounds like a great program and I was happy to learn about this great Maplewood neighbor.