Jacomo Summer Camp

Where is the camp located?

The Jacomo Summer Camp is located at the Kemper Outdoor Education Center at Lake Jacomo in Fleming Park. The address is:

8201 Jasper Bell Road
Blue Springs, MO 64015

For more information, please visit the Kemper Outdoor Education Center page.

What facilities are at the camp?

The facilities that the Jacomo Summer Camp utilizes at the Kemper Outdoor Education Center include:

  • 2-story Barn
  • Archery Range
  • Arts and Crafts Cabin
  • Nature Center
  • Nature Trail
  • Pond for canoeing, kayaking and fishing
  • Shelter House
  • Small in-ground Swimming Pool

How long has the Jacomo Summer Camp been in operation?

The Camp started in 1977 at the Kemper Outdoor Education Center (R. Crosby Kemper, Jr. donated the property to Jackson County the previous winter). It has been creating “Summers Kids Never Forget” ever since.

Is there transportation available?

No. Parents bring their children to camp every morning.

What is the maximum number of campers that can enroll?

We accept 110 campers each week.

What is the ratio of counselors to campers?

We maintain an average ratio of 1 counselor to 10 campers. The youngest age group (6-7 year olds) has 1 counselor for 6 or 7 campers. An additional counselor/lifeguard is assigned for all swimming and boating activities.

Who are the counselors and what are their qualifications?

Our counselors are college students and teachers on summer break. Our counselors must have completed at least 1 year of college, have experience working with groups of children and have experience in outdoor recreation activities. All staff members have passed a background check and a drug test. They are certified in Red Cross First Aid and CPR; many are also Lifeguard certified. All staff members are required to complete a 40-hour training course before camp begins. We generally have about 50% of the staff return each year. About 1/3 of these are 3rd year or 4th year counselors.

Who is the Camp Director?

Sarah Gauld is the Outdoor Education Supervisor for Jackson County Parks + Rec. She serves as Camp Director for the Jacomo Summer Camp.

What are the age groups?

The following are the different age groups as well as how many of each group there are:

  • 6-7 year olds (1 group)
  • 8-9 year olds (2 groups)
  • 10-11 year olds (2 groups)
  • 12-13 year olds (1 group)

How many campers are in each age group?

It varies each week, but is usually around 15-22 campers. When a group is larger than average, a 3rd or 4th counselor is added to that group.

Can my children be in the same group if they are different ages?

Activities in each group are designed for the age of the campers in the group. We will not move a younger camper up to an older age group. The older campers generally prefer to be with children their own age (doing age-appropriate activities) rather than with a younger sibling. Campers make new friends very quickly at camp.

My child is coming with a friend. Will they be in the same group?

If the campers are the same age, they can be in the same group. Activities in each group are designed for the age of the campers in the group. We will not move a younger camper up to an older age group. The older campers generally prefer to be with children their own age (doing age-appropriate activities) rather than in a group of all younger children. Campers make new friends very quickly at camp.

If your children are coming during extended hours, all the age groups are together during that time.

What activities will my child be involved in?

Each week, campers participate in activities such as:  Archery, Arts and Crafts, Camping Skills, Canoeing, Fishing, Games, Hiking, Nature Study, Science, Swimming and more. In addition to the special activities highlighted in that week's camp theme, there are usually one or more field trips each week.

What do the campers do during extended hours?

All the children are together during extended hours in and around the shelter house at Kemper Outdoor Education Center. Campers can choose from several active and quiet games that are organized during that time. Or they can play on the playground or in the sandbox.

After camp, some campers are tired and just want to rest for a while. All activities during extended hours are supervised by the Day Camp Counselors.

Where do the campers swim?

There is a small in-ground pool at Kemper Outdoor Education Center that we rotate groups through. We also swim (some weeks) at either the Blue Springs Beach or the Longview Beach.

View more information on the Beaches page.

What safety precautions are taken with aquatic activities?

One or more certified Red Cross Lifeguard supervises every boating or swimming activity (in addition to the group’s regular counselors). All campers wear life jackets while boating on the pond. Campers must wear life jackets to fish from the dock on the pond - campers must either pass a swim test or wear a life jacket when swimming at the camp pool or beach.

We always use the buddy system, “nose counts,” and roll-call to account for all our campers. When we go to the Water Park, campers wear colored wristbands. All counselors are trained in boating and swimming safety, as well as CPR and emergency procedures.

What if my child can’t swim?

We have a lot of non-swimmers at camp and we take lots of safety precautions when the campers are involved in aquatic activities.

One or more certified Red Cross Lifeguard supervises every boating or swimming activity (in addition to the group’s regular counselors). All campers wear life jackets while boating on the pond. Campers must wear life jackets to fish from the dock on the pond - campers must either pass a swim test or wear a life jacket when swimming at the camp pool or beach.

We always use the buddy system, “nose counts,” and roll-call to account for all our campers. When we go to the Water Park, campers wear colored wristbands. All counselors are trained in boating and swimming safety, as well as CPR and emergency procedures.

What is a typical day like at the Jacomo Summer Camp?

  • 6:45-9 am: Campers who are signed up for extended hours arrive and participate in a variety of games around the shelter house, barn and playground.
  • 8:50-9 am: Remaining campers arrive.
  • 9 am: Flag Ceremony and opening announcements.
  • 9 am-3:45 pm: Camp activities, outside speakers, field trips.
  • 3:45 pm: Closing flag ceremony, announcements and reminders.
  • 3:45-3:55 pm: Campers signed up for regular hours are picked up in shelter house area.
  • 3:45-5:45 pm: Campers signed up for extended hours are picked up by shelter house. While they wait for their rides, they participate in a variety of games around the shelter house, barn and playground.

How are the campers transported on field trips?

The Jacomo Summer Camp has a 65-passenger school bus. The driver is a full-time school bus driver from one of the local school districts on summer break. The driver has passed a background check, reference check and drug test.

What if it rains?

We have several indoor options we can use in the event of inclement weather:

  1. The Nature Center - for nature flicks, nature presentations, quiet games
  2. 2-Story Barn - for active games
  3. 1 Shelter House - for games and songs
  4. Crafts Cabin - for arts and crafts

Sometimes we’ll send groups on a field trip to another nature center.

What happens when it’s super-hot?

We deal with heat waves and high humidity in a variety of ways. Active games and hot activities are alternated with swimming and activities inside in the air-conditioning, so that no group is in the heat too long. Some activities, such as afternoon hikes, will be cancelled and replaced with cooler alternatives.

Many of the games are converted to water games. We also rotate all the groups into our air-conditioned facilities during the day (the Nature Center and the Crafts Cabin). Sometimes we take an extra field trip to an air-conditioned facility.

Our Day Camp Counselors are trained in preventing, recognizing and responding to heat illnesses. The campers take frequent ice water breaks and apply sun screen more often.

Is water available to the campers all day?

Yes, ice water is available to the campers all day. Your child should bring a reusable water bottle with his/her name on it. Attaching a strap will make it easier for your child to carry from activity to activity.

Does the camp furnish lunch or snacks?

Campers need to bring their own sack lunches. These should be non-perishable or brought in an insulated lunch box with an ice-pack sufficient to keep the food for several hours.

Parents can also send morning and afternoon snacks, especially for children signed up for extended hours. We occasionally provide treats or snacks for the campers, but this is very sporadic and usually related to theme week activities.

Can special needs children enroll?

This is decided on a case-by-case basis. Please call the Camp Director at 816-229-8980. Every effort will be made to include special needs children in the camp when possible. All children must be able to function with a 10-to-1 camper/counselor radio, safely participate in camp activities with reasonable accommodation, follow directions (for safety sake), and abide by the Camp Code of Conduct. The Summer Camp staff is not trained in special needs and there are no medical personnel on the staff.

What is a camp name?

Camp names are just a fun camp tradition - all the campers and counselors at the Jacomo Summer Camp go by camp names. This is a name that the camper chooses to be called all summer.

Many campers choose names having to do with wildlife (Grey Wolf or Hummingbird) or nature (Daisy or Stormy). Some choose super-heroes (Spider-Man or Hulk) or just a nickname they like (Chip or Speedy). The campers enjoy trying to figure out the counselors’ real names.

Parents should help their children choose their camp name before they come to camp.