This month’s Mercer Savings Bank Giving Mission recipient is Camp Inquire. The organization provides summer camp programming for high-ability students in grades 2-6 from more than 20 school districts.
Learn more about the organization and find out how you can help support its mission.
Understanding the Mission of Camp Inquire
“Camp Inquire is a place for high-achieving children, or gifted students, to come and be encouraged to grow and experience new things,” said Camp Inquire Leader Matt Overman. “It’s a fun, laid-back, easy-going, community-based camp.”
Camp Inquire opened in the summer of 1981, serving around 100 students under the leadership of Wright State University-Lake Campus. Today, the summer day camp hosts over 500 students from more than 20 school districts.
Matt’s wife, Beth, is an educator and the director of Camp Inquire. She was a former Camp Inquire participant, and now Matt and Beth’s children have attended the summer camp. Camp Inquire is held at Grand Lake United Methodist Church on East Fulton Street in Celina, where Matt serves as the pastor of children and family ministries.
“We love seeing kids challenged during camp,” said Matt. “We love to see them given a problem, and then they have to figure it out. It’s really hands-on existential learning. We teach the children that it’s okay to fail because you learn from what you did, and then you can try something again.”
Camp Inquire provides educational classes throughout the week-long day camp to challenge and meet the specialized needs and interests of gifted students. Courses may include but are not limited to environmental sciences, coding, Lego building, creative expressions, math, language, art, music, social sciences, physical sciences, and more.
“Our teachers have full creative control over their classes,” said Matt. “We want our teachers to be passionate about what they’re leading because that passion is contagious.”
Exploring a Typical Day at Camp Inquire
Camp Inquire is offered four weeks in June and July, with campers grouped by grade. Children who finished grades 4, 5, or 6 in the spring are in one camp, and children who completed grades 2 or 3 are assigned to the other camp.
Campers attend only one week of camp, depending on what best fits their schedule. Each day runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Camp days begin with a special welcome message.
“We start greeting kids and welcoming them,” said Matt. “And then, we have a math problem and a riddle of the day. We also discuss a person of the day, like Abraham Lincoln or Thomas Edison. We talk about how they impacted the world and how it’s okay to be different because when you think differently, you can do incredible things.”
The morning welcome ends with an uplifting and inspirational quote to kick off the day on a positive note. Then, campers attend two 90-minute morning classes. There’s a one-hour lunch and rec break around noon where campers enjoy their packed lunches and play outside, similar to recess at school.
“They have time to go outside and play, and we want them to go out and just be kids,” added Matt. “Sometimes high-achieving kids struggle with what to do during free time, so we give them permission and freedom just to go and play.”
During the spring registration, students choose from approximately 10 class options and rank their top three choices. Camp Inquire can usually accommodate students’ preferences but may need to make slight changes due to availability and roster size.
Supporting Camp Inquire
“We’re always looking for individuals who’d like to share their passion and teach one of our classes,” said Matt. “One of the great things about our camp is you don’t have to be a licensed teacher in our program. We also accept volunteers who can help supervise the rec time or float and help as needed.”
Interested community members may donate to Camp Inquire so they can continue to carry out their mission and improve the camp each year.
“Donations allow us to provide scholarships for campers and offer our teachers additional supplies to help them have the best camp experience possible,” said Matt.
Camp Inquire plans to use the Giving Mission funds from Mercer Savings Bank to help pay for scholarships for families who are unable to afford the camp fees. They also plan to use part of the funds for new signage and marketing materials to help promote and enhance their offerings.
Additional information about Camp Inquire can be found on their website and Facebook page, as noted below.