Asking for Money is Harder Than I Thought it Would Be

A group of teen campers eating lunch at a picnic table.

At least, it feels hard to me. I guess it opens you (I mean me) to rejection, and that’s never fun.

I started this camp 22 years ago. I was in my mid 40’s and needed something to commit to. I have some ideas about where that idea for a teen camp came from, but I’m pretty sure I was under some kind of spell because not once did I stop to consider the reality that I knew nothing about running a summer camp or all that much about teenagers either. I just plowed ahead.

After many years, the camp was not getting enough campers to pay the bills, and I was getting ready to let it go. Then the pandemic came along, and we couldn’t run camp (or lose money). I turned the camp from a for-profit to a nonprofit. We did a “Save our Camp” crowdfunding campaign, and several hundred folks donated $40,000. We also discovered a new foundation called Leonard-Litz, which believed in our mission and donated $25,000. Suddenly, we had a chance. At the same time, we became recognized as a great camp for teens who identify as LGBTQ+, and the gender revolution was picking up a lot of steam. We went from 150 campers to well over 300. Today, our future looks great. I think our camp is better than ever, and we don’t run any more “save our camp” crowdfunding campaigns (although we always want to, lol).

We do not own our facility in the Berkshires, but we have a long-term lease, and it is our home. We are on a beautiful piece of land, but the buildings are all sixty years old, and everything needs work. We are trying to put money into the facility yearly to make improvements. Last year, we spent $50,000 on new bunk beds. This year, we are spending $50,000 on staff housing and improving our infirmary.

Next, we would like to enhance our waterfront to have more fun at the lake, build a music studio, and someday have a big outdoor covered deck by the dining hall to eat outside even when it rains.

We will need your donations to help make these improvements and to continue to help many teenagers have fun this summer and for many summers to come. Well, that wasn’t so hard after all.

Thanks,

Adam

Adam Simon, Odyssey Teen Camp Director

Adam Simon

I'm Adam Simon. I started teen camp eighteen years ago with the vision of creating a space where teenagers would know they are safe from bullying or negative judgments and would feel free to show who they really are and to become their best selves. Let's connect, discuss, and engage...

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Find Out About Odyssey Teen Camp

A Non-Profit Overnight Summer Camp For Teens Ages 13-18
Located in the Berkshire Mountains of Massachusetts.