Camp Hometown Heroes

Nonprofit Excellence Awards

Camp Hometown Heroes brings together children who have lost loved ones serving in the U.S. military.
Camp Hometown Heroes brings together children who have lost loved ones serving in the U.S. military.
Camp Hometown Heroes brings together children who have lost loved ones serving in the U.S. military.

FINALIST

Camp Hometown Heroes
983 Badger Circle, Grafton

Camp Hometown Heroes is the only organization of its kind in the country. The leaders of the nonprofit saw a need and sought to address it.

The camp brings together children who have lost a loved one who was serving in the U.S. military.

Leaders saw these children not getting the proper respect, support and care, and established Camp Hometown Heroes in response.

“By losing a loved one who served our great nation, these families paid the ultimate sacrifice for the freedoms we enjoy each day,” said co-founder Neil Willenson.

Children from all over the country come together each summer with children who have experienced the same loss. They grieve together, heal together and also have fun.

The camp has partnered with other community organizations to provide professional grief counseling and other services, and its leaders routinely leverage the strong business connections and support they’ve gained throughout their careers to increase support and awareness for the cause.

Celebrities like Aaron Rodgers, Kool & the Gang, J.J. Watt, Robin Yount and many others have promoted or attended the camp.

The organization is staffed by only two full-time employees, and prides itself on running an extremely efficient operation. In the past two years, the camp has grown from just 62 children campers in its 2013 inaugural year to 150 campers and an extensive waiting list in 2015.

“We owe it to their departed loved ones to provide these kids and their families with incredible opportunities for friendship, healing and fun,” said Jim Kacmarcik, co-founder of Camp Hometown Heroes and president of Kapco Inc. in Grafton.

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