The 2024 application window has closed. You will be notified if you child was accepted into the program.

178 enrolled campers in 2023. We provided 3,194 visits.

Youth Summer Day Camp

Wellspring’s Youth Summer Day Camp is where it all began for Wellspring 55 years ago and we’re still going strong. This free 6-week ‘Camp’ is a summer highlight for hundreds of Fort Wayne families where we welcome children Pre-K through 7th grade Mondays through Fridays from 9:00am to 1:30pm.

Why are summer camps like ours important?
  • Youth are supervised during the vulnerable summer hours. Youth left home alone during the summer often experience loneliness, fear, and worry and are at greater risk of injury, victimization, poor nutrition, and lack of appropriate social and intellectual stimulation. Unsupervised adolescents are also more likely to engage in risky behaviors.
  • Food is provided at no cost to youth. Campers receive snacks and lunches daily. Because many of the youth we serve come from food-insecure homes, this service is especially important to their health and wellness.
  • Camp supports youth to be physically active and to make healthy choices. Many of the youth we serve do not live near safe playgrounds and parks, and are less likely to participate in organized sports due to lack of nearby facilities and/or personal resources, all of which represent barriers to maintaining a healthy body weight. We provide them numerous opportunities to be physically active, and for nutritional/health education.
  • Camp supports academic achievement by combating summer learning loss. Did you know that youth lose 25-30% of their school year-learning over the summer? This phenomenon can be especially detrimental to low-income youth, as they are less likely to have access to enticing educational resources, take enriching summer trips, or engage in interactions that build their vocabularies and knowledge. We provide 5 to 6 hours of formal learning activities derived from the Indiana Department of Education’s Academic Standards for each grade level.
  • Our caring staff and volunteers act as mentors to youth. At-risk youth who have an emotionally supportive adult in their lives are significantly less likely to experience negative emotional, psychological, social, and behavioral outcomes. Our staff and volunteers are trained to build intentional relationships with participants and help them to feel more confident and supported. Our programming is rooted in the research of the Search Institute.

While other organizations offer summer experiences to Fort Wayne youth, Wellspring is one of the only free opportunities in the area. To ensure access, we not only offer the Camp at absolutely no charge, we provide free transportation by school buses (contracted through FWCS), which more than half of our youth rely on.

Daily activities include:
Field trips
Guest speakers
Library visits
Recreational games

Each group is professionally staffed by Wellspring. Roving instructors on dance, music and yoga also meet weekly with youth.

Groups are divided by grade and are hosted at three participating sites this year.

Plymouth Congregational Church: Pre-K
Trinity Episcopal: 2nd - 4th Grade
Salvation Army: 5th - 7th Grade
Salvation Army: K - 1st Grade

Please contact Lois Ehinger or Holly Gillum for more information:

2023 Funding support from:

David B. McCracken Wellspring Camp Endowment

David B. McCracken was a man dedicated to youth development and he spent his entire career working with youth as a coach, teacher, professor, and camp counselor and director. David made a personal connection with campers and took his role as a mentor seriously; he believed in the power of camping to positively influence kids and help them build successful lives. The David B. McCracken Wellspring Camp Endowment helps us ensure that children in Fort Wayne benefit from an enriching camp experience.

For more information click here.