Character To The Core

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At Camp Crosley in Northern Indiana, the program focus is on developing youth through a motto of spirit, mind and body in order to remain active in lifelong hobbies.

“It’s a simple place with simple expectations,” says Richard Armstrong, Executive Director of Camp Crosley. “The one-to-four ratio is designed around them.”

Camp Crosley is a Christian organization that promotes core values of caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. Since 1921, it has honored traits such as loyalty, reverence, cleanliness, trustworthiness, consideration, helpfulness and dependability.

Building Character
At Camp Crosley a camper learns how to be a friend and how to make friends. “We don’t have a lot of expectations of them, so they are really free to work on their character. They are able to fine-tune the person they want to be,” says Armstrong.

Building character starts with a strong foundation of counselors who understand their roles in shaping the campers’ lives. Counselors are encouraged to set good examples for the children. This idea is reinforced through the words “Role Models,” which is printed on counselors’ T-shirts.

Camp Crosley encourages a sense of community among its campers while still keeping them safe and supervised. In recent years, there has been a redesign of some of the cabins for teen campers. The structures are built with eight sides in a circular design with beds that face each other, which helps keep campers on the same level with the counselors. “Kids don’t want to be watched, so this layout helps them feel more grown up, but allows for observation by staff,” says Armstrong.

One major asset CampCrosley takes full advantage of is its proximity to water. Being surrounded by the Great Lakes, campers can take full advantage of a wide range of water activities.

“Aquatics are definitely our main theme,” says Armstrong. “We have an extensive exposure to the waterfront.”

Every week, campers can participate in water-skiing, tubing, wake-boarding, kayaking, canoeing, paddle-boating, pontoon-boating, fishing and swimming. The camp also features an aqua playground, which includes a log roll and trampoline.

No School Bells Here
Armstrong says one of the best things about the camp is that it is not run like a classroom. “We are free to develop character to build strong kids. Nobody is watching the GPA of water-skiing, they just want to get up,” he says. Rather, the focus on the development of kids is showing them how important it is to get involved. They aren’t being judged or reviewed on their skills; they are developing as people to see what it means to try something new.

When kids leave Camp Crosley after each session, they have more than just their memories of learning how to water-ski or having the longest time on the log roll. They leave with a better outlook on how to succeed in life by giving things a shot and making great friendships along the way.

Heather Reichle is a freelance writer living in Columbus, Ohio. She can be reached via e-mail at


Camp Crosley YMCA
Owner: The Muncie Family YMCA
Location: Northern Indiana
Cost per session: $450

Two campuses serving three different age groups: pathfinders (ages 6-8), explorers (ages 9-12) and challengers (13-15)
One-week sessions with the opportunity to extend to two to three weeks by taking multiple sessions
Camper to staff ratio: no greater than 1:4
240 overnight campers