(Dublin, OH) This June, the City of Dublin’s Camp Project L.E.E.D. program is celebrating 20 years of making an impact in Dublin, the greater central Ohio community, and most importantly, in the lives of hundreds of area youth. The camp was created in 1999 to teach teens the value of the four pillars of Leadership, Ethics, Esteem and Duty—while still allowing them to have fun.
“It was always meant to be a summer camp part of the time allowing kids to be kids, but is unique in that half of it is spent focused on hands-on volunteerism, letting these middle schoolers learn to see outside of themselves and how they can make a difference,” said Christine Nardecchia, City of Dublin Director of Outreach and Engagement. “We know that from the 750 teens who have gone through the program, the impact and effect on reaching out to others to help has had a lasting effect on both future volunteer and career choices.”
Over the past 20 years, Camp Project L.E.E.D. alumni have maintained their passion for volunteerism and gone on to achieve great things. Former camp participants Dr. Keefe Granite and Robert Burda, 2004-2006 alumni, and current camper Olivia Wirth spoke on Camp Project L.E.E.D. at the June 10 Dublin City Council meeting.
“While reflecting on my experiences participating in the L.E.E.D. summer camp program, I realized just how influential L.E.E.D. was in shaping the woman I am today,” Granite said. “Having the opportunities to volunteer across the city, specifically at the elementary Wyandotte camps helped me to find my passion to help others and my love for working with children.”
Granite is now working as a pediatric developmental occupational therapist at Nationwide Children’s Hospital outpatient clinics in central Ohio.
In addition to inspiring kids to get involved in their community, Camp Project L.E.E.D. participants are able to enjoy recreation activities while doing meaningful work in their community.
“Purposeful recreation has always had a strong influence on the community. L.E.E.D. is an opportunity for teens to see the play in the work they do, and enjoyment of service to others,” said Scott Hanks, City of Dublin Recreation Program Supervisor.
Camp Project L.E.E.D. is uniquely Dublin, although other cities have tried to replicate its success. It has been awarded on a local, state and national level over the course of the past 20 years and its positive impact on participants, and the community, is not likely to diminish any time soon.
Communications & Public Information Intern