Dater Foundation Success Stories
Camp Joy Fosters Success
Marcell Walls has grown up in foster care, and to him, Camp Joy is home. To Camp Joy, Marcell is a success story because he is a great role model for campers like him who have grown up in the foster care system.
This summer is the fifth in which Marcell is working as a counselor at Camp Joy. Before that, he was a camper there. In fact, he has attended Camp Joy programs in some capacity for fourteen summers.
“Through my Camp Joy experiences, I have learned about children and how to deal with them and the challenges they present,” said Marcell.
For a number of years, the Charles H. Dater Foundation has supported Joy Outdoor Education Center’s Camp Joy “Fostering Success” Program, which is the summer camp program designed exclusively for foster youth like Marcell. This year the foundation also is supporting the Camp Joy Agency Camp Program, which is the summer camp program for Greater Cincinnati youth from economically-disadvantaged backgrounds.
Both programs help youth in need develop personal and interpersonal skills, and Fostering Success helps youth in foster care experience success, develop a sense of purpose, and, for those with siblings, a sense of family.
Marcell lived in foster homes from age 3. He is now age 20. He moved a lot growing up, and his brother and sister lived in different homes than he. He loved Camp Joy because it was the only time that he saw them for extended periods of time.
“I didn’t want to leave because my brother and sister were here.” He also loved Camp Joy because he made great friends during his visits. “The friends I made here are like brothers and sisters to me,” he said, rattling off a list of names of fellow campers he has grown close to over the years.
During the past school year, Marcell attended college at Central State University where he was a linebacker on the football team He is transferring to Eastern Kentucky University for the fall term.
More information about Joy Outdoor Education Center is available at the organization's web site --span>