Background and Mission

The mission of Camps For Kids(C4K) is to ensure that no Kansas City area child will be turned away from summer camp because of low income or physical or developmental disability. The organization was founded by Marjorie Powell Allen in 1981 after the Federal government discontinued a program providing summer camp to children with disabilities or need at no cost to their families.

Still true today, it is difficult for many families with children who have physical or developmental issues or who are low-income to afford the cost of camp.  Camps For Kids believes that camp offers opportunities for children to enjoy a sense of independence, meet and make new friends, develop new skills, participate in programs not otherwise available, and helps bridge the summer learning gap. As a camper and a parent commented:

At camp, I feel like a normal kid and can do everything a normal kid can do and make friends”. a ten-yr. old camper

“Thank you for this amazing gift. My son would never have been able to attend camp this year without your help. He learned so much and had so much fun he can’t wait for school so he can show off all his new knowledge!” – a parent

Camps For Kids main program is the matching funds program which is a collaborative effort by area supporters to encourage donations to camp programs for children and youth, who have special medical, emotional or financial needs. Each camp is approved for a certain amount of its fundraising to be matched; allocations range from $1,000 to $25,000. The underlying goal for the program is to help camps have the funds to assure that children will not be denied the camping experience because of low income or financial/medical disadvantage. 100% of the financial support we provide to our twenty network camps is directed to campers from the Kansas City metropolitan area. The fundraising generated by our match program was essential to the continued operation of many of the special needs camps in our network. The COVID-19 pandemic presented continuous challenges for all our network camps in 2022(most current data), still over 2500 children and youth were served and no child was turned away because of inability to pay. Prior to Covid we served over 3500 children and youth a year.

Camps in the network each have a specific focus, many related to children’s health. These include blood disorders, autism spectrum disorders, spina bifida, cancer, foster care children, bereavement therapy, vision impairments, developmental challenges, and congenital heart disease. Several camps provide access to the environment, and the arts and sciences to underprivileged children and youth.  Many camps have small staffs and utilize volunteers to conduct their activities. Their focus is on providing an outstanding camping experience for the children. Few have dedicated personnel with enough time to raise the needed funds to support the camp’s programs.

“Without the support of Camps For Kids and the matching fund, CHD Families would be unable to provide a free medically supervised summer camp for kids with Congenital Heart Defects.” -Director, Camp Systole.

 Board Member Expectations

Board members are involved at the highest level in the governance and strategic planning of the organization and play the most critical role in our long-term success. C4K maintains a high standard of expectations for participation of board members. These expectations include:

  1. Minimum two-year commitment of service. Board members may serve for a maximum of six consecutive years.
  1. A pledge to commit skills and significant effort to support this important community organization.
  1. An effort to consistently attend Board meetings (either by phone or in person). Members are expected to attend a minimum of 70% of regularly scheduled Board of Directors meetings there are 10 annually, and the annual Board retreat.
  1. An effort to attend all C4K’s fundraising events (currently Camp Out  & Cocktails & Camp Tales.
  1. Acknowledgement that the sustained and long-term success of our organization requires significant financial support through direct donations or solicitation of financial support from others in the community. A board member will commit to a “Give or Get” policy for $2,500 annually, which shall include one table for Cocktails & Camp Tales and one sponsorship or the sale of 10 tickets for Camp Out at the Zoo.
  1. Acknowledgment that one of the “rewards” for Board service is seeing firsthand C4K’s impact on the children of our community. A board member will commit to visit camps which receive funding from C4K – two camp visits for first two years of Board membership, one visit for remaining years.
  1. Commit to making a meaningful personal financial gift to C4K annually.
  1. Connect the Board Development Chair with at least two volunteers to assist at one of the fund-raising events – the first step toward becoming a prospective board member.
  1. Provide contact information for 10 new individual donors during first year of service.
  1. Provide corporate contact information for 3 new businesses annually.
  1. Agreement to be recognized in C4K communications as a Board member.


Calendar of Activities:

Board meetings are generally held on the fourth Monday of the month at our office in Mission, KS. at 6:00.  The schedule for 2023 is as follows:

January      Board Retreat

February    Board Meeting

March         Board Meeting

April            Board Meeting

May             Board Meeting

June           Camp Out

July            No meeting, scheduled camp visits.

August      Board Meeting

September    Board Meeting

October          Board Meeting

November    Cocktails & Camp Tales Fundraiser

December     No meeting


Requested from board candidates:

  •  A short letter or email explaining “Why you would like to join our board and how you would be good a good fit for C4K”.
  •  Resume and personal history






“As we expected camp has been WONDERFUL. The genuine smile on (my daughter’s) face in the pictures I took at drop off and the ones the counselors are sending me are testament to what an amazing thing you are doing. Thank you so very, very much! ”


“I can see what other kids have gone through and how they survived. It helps me get through & conquer. We are all survivors. That’s a gift.”


“When I'm at camp, I feel like a normal kid. Some kids don't get to go outside because our parents are just working too much and too hard. At home, I'm just watching movies all day. I don't want to get too old to come to Wildwood.”


“Without the support of Camps for Kids and the matching fund, CHD Families would be unable to provide a free medically supervised summer camp for kids with Congenital Heart Defects.”


“I look back on the struggle of my childhood and one of the most important and best childhood memories I have include the time spent at camp with the amazing men and women who treated me like I was normal despite my struggle”

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