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Boys Town Camp Okoboji: Bringing The Camp Experience To At Risk Youth

​Taking a ​trip up to the Okoboji area is a popular pastime for Siouxlanders in the summer but also for campers.

It's the site of Boys Town Okoboji Camp, a camp for at risk kids. And it offers much more than just a typical camp experience.

For four days out of the year, kids ages 10 to 19 come to camp here on West Lake Okoboji.

They're all out here from Boys Town, an at risk outreach organization from Omaha.  For many of the kids, coming to camp is all about the fun.
"Play football, play soccer. We can go on the lake and just do whatever, play basketball with the hoop or just go tubing," said 16-year-old Paris Henning, a first-year camper at Boys Town Camp Okoboji.

Boys Town Camp Okoboji lets kids get the full camp experience.  And for them, it's a blast.
"They love it up here. It's a lot of opportunity for them to try different things, like some of them have never even been to the beach, never been on the water or never been on a boat. So they really like to get that opportunity and try new things out here," said Camp Director Amy Hernbloom.

For some, it's their first time. Others come back as often as they can.

Like 18-year-old Telvin Davis. He came to camp with Boys Town last year. And he said the best part is time in the water. "I stayed another year and I thought it was pretty fun, I liked it last year. So I decided to come back," Davis said.

It's not an uncommon feeling among campers.

Including 11-year-old Michael Israel. He said all the activities he's tried make him excited to come back to camp next year. "I've not been tubing on a speed boat before. The waves were really big whenever you're going on it," Israel said.

And the best part? It's all paid for through donations.  Making sure the kids coming here can focus on the big things... like keeping their heads above water.

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