North Putnam teachers Julie Mitchel and Cindy Huddleston were inspired while attending some community-wide meetings this spring where the talk centered on providing help to at-risk children.
In less than five weeks, the two women pulled together a weeklong camp offered free of charge to students from ages kindergarten to high school.
They contacted the Heritage Lake Property Owners Association, who offered to let the women use the lake's activity center. They spoke to the Canaan Community Church near Heritage Lake and the Everlasting Foundation, all of whom wanted to help.
Volunteers and donations began coming in. Kids began signing up. First they had 30, then 45. By opening day, the number had grown to 70 and was still rising.
Students came from Van Bibber Lake, Russellville, Roachdale, Bainbridge and in between. Buses were provided to pick up kids.
Volunteers were trained to help teach kids valuable life lessons like cooperation and making good life choices.
Mitchel and Huddleston hope this year is just the beginning.
"We want to see a camp like this in every township. It was a lot of hard work but there are so many kids at home not having things to do, we knew it was worth it," said Huddleston.
First thing Monday morning, the group started out by providing some community service. They mulched and weeded an area near the Heritage Lake Clubhouse,
"Even the little guys helped by pulling weeds. The bigger kids moved mulch," said Mitchel.
The camp features a "Survivor" theme and focuses on teaching kids to get along together. The Department of Natural Resources, Indiana State Police and numerous volunteers are offering programs and help at the camp.
"We would not be successful without all the volunteers," said Huddleston. "The community really came together for this."
The camp is broken into three age brackets with the majority being in the five, six and seven-year-old and eight, nine and 10-year-old groups. There were also more than 20 kids age 11 and older.
"We even have a high school senior coming. He is a lot of help to us," said Huddleston.
Campers bring a sack lunch, but are provided with snacks. A big cookout on Friday will be the culmination of the camp this week.
"Look what can happen with the power of prayer, networking and friends. A lot can be done in such a short period of time," added Huddleston.
For information about the camp or to make a donation or volunteer call Mitchel at 720-3605 or Huddleston at 386-6338 or 317-627-6982.