DPS Announces New Camp Operator to Modernize Experiences at District’s Free 240-Acre Summer Nature Camp

Professional camp operations to be provided by the Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries; District also launches a $4.5 million fundraising campaign for Camp Burt Shurly, a DPS-owned camp facility located in Gregory, MI

Detroit Public Schools has partnered with Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, an experienced camp operator, to offer professional, modernized camp services for the district’s signature 240-acre camp located in Gregory, Michigan. Plans include expanded outdoor STEM education and experiential learning through a soon-to-be added nature center.

At the same time, the District and the Detroit Public Schools Foundation have announced a Camp Capital Campaign to raise $4.5 million to update the camp with new bathhouses, as well as cabin and lodge improvements. The District is seeking $525,000 for high impact improvements for this summer, including educational and experiential enhancements such as a new portable climbing wall, zip lines, high and low rope courses, an upgrade of the beach area on adjoining North Lake, new paddle boats, a fishing dock, sand pits, a tree house, a nature play area, a greenhouse and more.

Capital Campaign link: To donate to this program for the children in Detroit, click on www.crowdrise.com/aboutcampburtshurly

Checks can also be made out directly to the Detroit Public Schools Foundation with the notation, For Camp Burt Shurly. Send to DPS Foundation, Fisher Bldg., Ste. 1004, 3011 West Grand. Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202.

“There is much research about the positive impact of learning in outdoor spaces, and the important lessons that can be learned about the interconnectedness and value of life, and understanding our role in the world,” said Alycia Meriweather, Executive Director of the DPS Office of Science.

Camp Burt Shurly, owned and operated by DPS for more than 50 years, provides an 8-week licensed residential summer camp for DPS Title I eligible students between the ages of 8-12, school groups, marching bands, athletic teams, mentor programs and weekend private groups. Amenities include lake frontage and beach, forests and walking trails, camp fire area, fishing pond, 8 cabins, and a main lodge. As many as 150 campers attend the camp each week during the summer season.

This summer, Camp Burt Shurly will offer three weeks of camping experiences dedicated to students enrolled in the District’s Extended Year School (ESY) program.  Selected 3rd and 4th graders will participate in a 2.5 day educational camp experience as part of their Extended Year School program in order to increase engagement and provide an alternative learning setting.

The remaining five weeks of camp will be open to the entire district, including ESY students who would like to return for additional weeks of camp. Each of the five weeks will include an intentional focus on a science concept, such as natural resources and ecosystems. Every week also will include an Astronomy night in a setting where students will be able to see the stars more clearly than in the city setting where light pollution usually impacts access, Meriweather said. The camp experience includes transportation, adventure/challenge activities, lodging and meals.

Additional new features added this summer under Detroit Rescue Mission Ministries, which has operated a successful summer camp serving urban youth for more than 40 years at Wildwood Ranch in Livingston County, include a climbing wall, low ropes courses, and Ga-Ga Pits. These experiences are part of the district’s team-building, Conflict Resolution, and self-confidence building experiences, Meriweather said.

“Camp Burt Shurly is a reasoned addition to our well-received educational, adventure and team-building summer programs for disadvantaged young students in metro Detroit,” said DRMM President and CEO, Dr. Chad Audi. “Drawing from our experience and success at our 240-acre Wildwood Ranch in Howell, we are confident the students will love Camp Burt Shurly under our management.”

“We are so excited for DPS students to take advantage of the exciting improvements at their camp,” Meriweather said. “DPS Camp Burt Shurly belongs to Detroit Public Schools, and this summer we want to fill every cabin.”

While the initial $525,000 capital campaign seeks to immediately improve students’ learning experiences, additional donations totaling $4.5 million are being sought to create a “best practices” year-round facility for campers and other organizations who will use the facilities for retreats, planning sessions and team building.

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