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7.15.21 – Scott Blakeney

Executive Director, IKUS-Indian Trails Camp

July 15 @ 12:00 pm - 1:15 pm

Topic: "It’s Time for Summer Camp!"

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Please join us for our annual visit to Indian Trails Camp, to learn about their history and our Club’s long-term support.  Since the 1950’s IKUS/ITC has exclusively served individuals with physical and intellectual disabilities, from across Michigan and neighboring states.

Scott Blakeney will be providing an update about programming, the impact of COVID and how IKUS/ITC has been able to adapt.  Enjoy a tour of the campus and a delicious lunch prepared by the camp chef.  If you’ve been to camp before, things may look a bit different, so come and see what’s been happening!


Indian Trails Camp and IKUS Life Enrichment Services

Indian Trails Camp was founded in 1952 by the Kent County Cerebal Palsey Parents Club. These parents wanted a traditional camp experience accessible for children with physical and intellectual disabilities. Two teachers from Eastern Orthopedic School joined the club, along with medical professionals from Mary Free Bed. Tom Muller was president of the Club. Some financial aid was provided by the State of Michigan and Grand Rapids Board of Education.

In 1953 the first camp was held at Yankee Springs, and Wayne Muller was one of the camp counselors (and ITC Board President in 1971!). The second year camp was held at St. Mary’s Lake, and camp continued to grow. This success led the founders to search for a permanent camp home, and further organization. Grand Rapids Rotarian Fritz Meuller Jr contacted the Rotary Club regarding support, and that year the Club donated the money designated for their Christmas Party, to the camp.

Through the efforts of the GR Rotary, the City of Grand Rapids agreed to lease a parcel of land in Aman Park as the permanent home of camp. Indian Trails Camp became a reality, and the 1955 camp season was held in Aman Park (there was only one building at the park that year). Progress continued, and in 1956 ITC became a non-profit corporation. John Bertsch was the first president of the Indian Trails Camp Board of Directors.

Later, after receiving the gift of a pool, the GR Rotary conducted an $80,000 fund drive and built eight sleeping cabins. Next $115,000 was raised for renovations of the Ojibway Lodge, pool enclosure and a pontoon boat. The GR Rotary conducted another fund drive in 1980 chaired by Donald Porter. $130,000 was raised to build a sewage system, maintenance building, laundry, bathing facilities, and an outdoor chapel/ampitheater. As the kids aged Indian Trails began serving both children and adults, now 75% of campers are adults. Indian Trails continues to be the only fully accessible camp in Michigan, and one of a handful in the U.S.

Now fast forward about 30 years…

Indian Trails Camp recognized the need for year ‘round respite beyond the summer months, when campers came for a fun weekend and caregivers got much needed rest. Around 2010 we identified other service and program needs in west Michigan to further support the individuals we serve. Eventually these services grew to include: individual Community Living Support, group Community Living Support, Skill Building, and Supported Employment. Like camp, the majority of individuals that participate in these programs and services are adults.

Once these services became established, the Indian Trails Camp name didn’t accurately describe everything we had to offer. Camp leadership decided to create a “parent” brand to encompass the entire compliment of programming. IKUS Life Enrichment Services was born, using the word IKUS from the Indian Trails Camp song.

Scott Blakeney joined Indian Trails Camp/IKUS Life Enrichment Services as their Executive Director in October of 2018. Prior to ITC/IKUS he worked for the State of Michigan for 15 years, and spent 10 years in the for-profit world before being employed at the State. Scott joined the Rotary Club of Grand Rapids in 2019, and is excited to continue the longstanding tradition of serving people in west Michigan.





July 15
12:00 pm - 1:15 pm
Event Category:


Indian Trails Camp
0-1859 Lake Michigan Drive
Grand Rapids, MI 49534 United States
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