On May 3, two members of U.S. Senator Roy Blunt’s staff visited Sherwood Forest’s camp site in Lesterville, MO. With only 100 U.S. Senators, we were honored to have this unique opportunity to share more about our organization and the children we serve. Two of Senator Blunt’s staff, Madison Baker, Field Representative, and Ailey Pope, Community Liaison, spent time at our facility to learn more about the work of Americorps volunteers at camp, summer STEM education, and our mental health programs.

The visit started with a discussion between Blunt’s staff, Sherwood Forest’s Staff, and the NCCC (National Civilian Community Corps) volunteers who have been volunteering at our camp site. The NCCC is a division of Americorps that sends teams of enthusiastic young adults into a wide variety of nonprofit organizations in any community with a critical need. The NCCC group currently serving Sherwood Forest has been assisting with maintenance and facilities as we get ready for camp – completing all kinds of work including painting, cutting trees into lumbar, building benches, and much more. The estimated value of of the labor by this team is $39,250. Sherwood Forest is extremely grateful for the work of the NCCC, especially as we prepare new buildings for our camp season. During the visit, the NCCC volunteers at our site were able to share the work they are doing with Blunt’s staff.

We toured the MAC – our new learning center which includes our library along with our new STEM lab. The STEM industry is a continually growing field seeking skilled individuals, however, data shows many of those jobs will go unfilled because of a lack of qualified or interested applicants. The primary mission of the Sherwood Forest’s Summer STEM Program is to make STEM exciting and fun – campers will take part in hand on experiences that connect the natural world at camp to foster interest in the fields of science, technology, engineering and math.

We also toured the Comfort Lodge, our new Health Center. Thanks to the support of our donors and a grant from the Missouri Foundation for Health, we have been able to expand our health services at camp by building a new health lodge and hiring additional staff. Our goal is to help campers and staff be more successful at camp by having spaces and staff dedicated to addressing mental health issues. More than 50% of our 300+ campers arrive at camp with a pre-existing medical need: 27% have diagnosed emotional, behavioral, or mental health issues. For 2019, we have created new positions – Behavioral Health Specialist and Youth Advocates – who will focus on the mental health of campers and staff during the summer. This will include providing support to our campers and training staff to manage behavioral/ emotional health issues.

We are so appreciative of the opportunity to share more about the great work going on at Sherwood Forest with Blunt’s staff.