Camptown, Inc. has been awarded a grant in the amount of $143,671 to bring Marion County youth through HopeTrail, a crime reduction program focused on education and mentorship via purposeful recreation. This support is funded through the fourth round of the Elevation Grant Program, a partnership between The Indianapolis Foundation, Mayor Joe Hogsett, and the City-County Council with a goal to decrease crime and increase opportunity. 

Camptown’s HopeTrail program is an early intervention program designed to challenge youth attitudes, perspectives, and decision-making to choose meaningful life paths. The intensity of HopeTrail wilderness adventures places students in an environment where they are open to new ways of thinking. 

Partnerships with local organizations, including alternative schools and diversion programs, are integrated into the HopeTrail program. Camptown’s goal is to decrease the likelihood that youth will engage in violence or criminal activity and ultimately, steer them away from a path that leads to adjudication. 

“From our start in 1991, Camptown has been intentional to bring its unique model to youth who can benefit the most. Holistic youth development through outdoor adventures is what we do best and HopeTrail lets us share this with more kids in Marion County,” said Brent Freeman, Camptown President & Executive Director. “We are grateful for this investment from the Indianapolis Foundation and the City of Indianapolis, natural partners for such important work.” 

HopeTrail’s experiential learning model is designed to address several of these risk factors in an immersive, highly engaging manner. For instance, learning new outdoor skills, and using them in the wilderness of the Smoky Mountains of Tennessee, provide an eye-opening experience for many urban youth. Thus, they have a chance to reimagine what’s possible, dream more, and apply skills learned to make their dreams a reality. Therefore, instead of turning to crime and strong forces of negative peer pressure, they can turn to trusted advisors and commit to their healthy development and education.

The Elevation grant program utilizes the Indianapolis Foundation’s equity framework and gives priority to organizations clearly demonstrating immediate intentionality around violence reduction and supporting programs using evidence-based violence reduction programming or promising strategies that also elevate the assets, aspirations, hope and the safety of neighborhoods impacted by violence.

“Through the Elevation Grant Program, Indianapolis has awarded a total of $25,657,912.65 across 159 grants. Significantly, over 60% of these grantees are BIPOC-led, exemplifying a commitment to creating more equitable opportunities and supporting efforts to build community.” said Pamela Ross, vice president of community leadership and equitable initiatives for The Indianapolis Foundation. “This investment demonstrates a powerful shift in the dynamics of influence, placing resources and decision-making into the hands of historically underrepresented communities.”