History

The Davis brothers, Eric and Adam, started Camp of Dreams in 2003 so that underserved children from the City of Chicago would have an opportunity to attend three weeks of summer camp. Their vision also included year-round contact with their “Dreamers” through Community Days, an enrichment program two Saturdays each month during the school year, and they also delivered an after-school program in the early days of Camp of Dreams.

Originally a pilot program for a parent organization, the Davises formed their own 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation in 2004 as they continued to offer academic, recreational and enrichment programs for children who simply would not have had these opportunities had it not been for the vision, dedication, and energy of Eric and Adam and their staff.

Camp of Dreams has used a few urban sites including Charter LEARN School in North Lawndale and Bronzeville Lighthouse Charter School (BZLCS) in Bronzeville. Summer camp has been held at the Lutheran Outdoor Ministries Center in Oregon, IL, Wild Rose Program Center in St. Charles, Camp Pinewood in Twin Lake, MI , and Bradford Woods Outdoor Center in Martinsville, IN.

The program grew to as many as 75 Dreamers attending camp in 2009 with 150 Dreamers registered for Community Days.

Both of the Davis brothers have moved on to other endeavors. Adam is executive director of the Oregon Humanities Council while Eric founded Global Citizenship Experience in 2010, an innovative Chicago high school.

Meanwhile, Camp of Dreams has undergone a number of changes in personnel, sites, and program since its beginning. Having survived the economic downturn in 2008, the organization has been led since late summer of 2012 by Antoinette Wright, the former president and CEO of the DuSable Museum of African American History. Ms. Wright reinstituted summer camp in 2013 after a respite of one summer while initiating an after-school program at Bronzeville Lighthouse in the fall of 2012. It had been six years since Camp of Dreams offered after-school programming.

In addition, Community Days have continued to keep our young people involved throughout the school year.

As Camp of Dreams looks to its future, we are dedicated to including more families for whom their children can benefit from our varied programs, and we consistently explore new, interesting, and exciting areas to introduce to our Dreamers.