Mission and goals

Our mission is to nurture healthy and positive futures for children and their families affected by incarceration. We seek to break the cycle of intergenerational incarceration by empowering our Amazing Kids for success.

Amazing Grace is a cost-free program offering summer camp experiences for children plus year-round activities that include their families. These children will be

  • welcomed, appreciated, loved and accepted by Amazing Grace mentors and YMCA counselors;
  • given time away from the routines of everyday life, with peers who share a similar struggle;
  • invited to spend restorative time enjoying the beauty of creation during their camp experiences;
  • encouraged to embrace their own creativity, stretch their comfort zone, and develop life skills through their participation in the camp experience and monthly activities;
  • offered new supportive friendships.

The camp experiences

We are excited about offering Amazing Grace I and Amazing Grace II again in 2018 from August 19 – 24.

Amazing Grace I is a week-long, cost-free, residential, camp experience for children ages 7-11 that have been impacted by a family member’s incarceration. It is offered at Camp Burgess through a partnership between the South Shore YMCA and Amazing Grace of Cape Cod Inc. Camp Burgess has over 300 acres of forest and meadows and is located on beautiful Spectacle Pond in Sandwich, MA (GPS 81 Stowe Road).

  • Campers will swim, play team sports, do arts and crafts, work with farm animals, try out a ropes course, hike in the woods, go boating, and much more under the supervision of trained counselors and volunteers from the YMCA, churches and other organizations across the Cape.
  • At night, we will gather around a campfire to sing and hear and tell stories.
  • As we work and play together, we will remember how each of us is special - treasured and beloved.

Amazing Grace II is a camp experience for children ages 12-15 who have participated in AG I. It is offered at Camp Hayward the same week as AG I on the other side of Spectacle Pond. Amazing Grace kids participate in Camp Hayward’s Coed Week which includes morning special-interest activities such as kayaking, creative arts, sports, and sailing as well as afternoon cabin activities. Participation in AG II makes our Amazing Kids eligible to participate in the Counselor-in-Training program when they turn 16 and return to AG I as Junior Counselors when they are 17.

History and sponsors

Amazing Grace of Cape Cod Inc. held its first week-long camp experience with 13 children in 2014 and was incorporated as a 501(c)(3)in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts in 2015. We offered our first monthly activities and offered our first scholarship for children 12 years old and older in 2016. Amazing Grace began when caring individuals at Saint Mary’s Episcopal Church, Saint David’s Episcopal Church, and The Open Door Mission decided to work to break the cycle of incarceration in families. Our programs are possible because of the generosity of area faith communities, organizations, businesses, and individual partners like you. Children participate without regard to religious affiliation or lack thereof.

Amazing Grace of Cape Cod was inspired by similar programs in Maryland, Vermont, and around the country. The first was Grace Camp, opened in 1994 in the Episcopal Diocese of Rio Grande, New Mexico. It was founded to show unconditional love and a glimpse of a different life to children whose parent was incarcerated. Since then, twenty-seven dioceses across the United States have explored and expanded this ministry or have opened summer camps for children whose parents are imprisoned. The Rev. Stephen R. Caldwell, who founded Grace Camp, collaborated with the Rev. Jackie Means, the retired director of Prison Ministry for the Episcopal Church, to write a practical guide for starting a prison ministry camp. Rev. Means is responsible for inspiring many of the camps.