Alumni families return for service projects with the Family Volunteer Camp

Author: Brittany Collins

Family Volunteer Camp volunteers

For two weeks beginning July 21 (Sunday), University of Notre Dame alumni and their families are coming back to campus to take part in the Family Volunteer Camp, a weeklong program that invites alumni to reconnect with the University and introduce their children to the University’s mission of service to others.

The Family Volunteer Camp, organized by the Alumni Association, brings Notre Dame graduates to campus to participate in service projects in the area, stay in one of the dorms on campus and connect with other families. The camp has been offered in one form or another since 1996, said Angie Appleby Purcell, spirituality program director for the Alumni Association, and for the first time this year the association arranged two consecutive weeklong camps to meet demand. Each week, about 25 families will stay in Ryan Hall.

The purpose of the camp is to engage the whole family in community service. “It came from a desire from both the Alumni Association and the University, but also from the alumni themselves, to provide an opportunity in which families do service together as a way of living the mission of the University within the local community,” said Appleby Purcell.

Service projects include working with REAL Services to organize a carnival for residents of the Courtyard Healthcare Center in Goshen, helping to sort food at St. Margaret’s House, teaming up with Unity Gardens to develop urban gardens around South Bend, meeting with residents of the Center for the Homeless, and a variety of other projects with the YWCA, St. Vincent de Paul society, Hope Ministries and Crooked Creek Ranch.

Though the community service projects are the main draw of the camp, the Alumni Association also plans for activities for the kids in the evenings. Families will have opportunities to ice skate, swim, tour Notre Dame Stadium, and go bowling and go-kart racing.

“People come from all over,” said Appleby Purcell, including from the East Coast and from as far away as California. “A lot of these families come back because their children have become friends. It’s a little family reunion through the camps. Even if they’re brand-new, it takes no time for them to jell.”

The 2013 camp is full and registration has closed.

Contact: Angie Appleby Purcell, 574-631-6724,