Benton Camp Reaches out to Kids in Ferguson, Missouri


By Evie Allen

BENTON -- A local camp plans to host a group of children from Ferguson, Missouri. 

Owners of Camp Manitowa, in Benton, wanted to help after the unrest caused by the police shooting of an unarmed teen.

Camp Manitowa just wrapped up its summer program.

"We also host schools and church groups and a variety of other groups here in the fall and spring," explains co-owner Dan Grabel.

Grabel says, as they move into their fall retreat season, they've decided to invited a special group. 

"We figured we have a great facility and we want to open it up to the kids at Ferguson at no cost to them." 

Grabel says the camp hopes to offer the kids some relief from everything that's happened in their town the past two weeks.          

"The kids of the community have been affected. Their whole beginning of the school year routine has been interrupted. It just seemed an obvious thing for us to do," he says.

Grabel hopes to have 100 to 120 Ferguson kids at the camp. The 4-8th graders will spend a weekend in October for activities like canoeing, wall climbing and a variety of sports. 

"Camp really provides an opportunity for them to let it all out," adds camp couselor Aaron Farrell.

The camp's ten round cabins, called yurts, house 12 to 16 kids. Other cabins are provided for smaller groups.

Grabel says they're working with organizations in the Ferguson area to help co-ordinate the weekend.

"We'd like for them to be really responsible for a lot of the programming and a lot of what happens here. We just want to offer up the camp," he says.

Lots of volunteers and camp counselors like Farrell will help keep an eye on campers and offer support.

"It's tragic and terrible and I'm really hoping that there can be some change made soon," says Farrell.

Owners are looking for volunteers to help with #CampFerguson. If you're interested contact Camp Manitowa in Benton.

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