Camp Hometown Heroes

Their parents are fallen U.S. heroes. Help provide healing to kids who made a life-long sacrifice.
Camp Hometown Heroes
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Email Verified
Grafton, Wisconsin
United States
5 Team Members

For more information please visit

  •  Your gift of any amount will help send children of fallen U.S. service members to Camp Hometown Heroes - a free national summer camp where they can experience friendship, fun and healing.

  • Through art therapy, music, counseling sessions and other avenues, the children are given the opportunity to not only honor their fallen hero but to start healing from the death of their loved one.

  • Camp Hometown Heroes welcomes children from throughout the United States - entirely free of charge. 

  • Our camp has nearly doubled in size since last year.  We are saddened as we are denying enrollment to children who wish to attend.  Hometown Heroes needs to raise more funding so that these valuable healing programs can grow.

  • It feels good to help a kid heal! Their parents served and died for our nation. Be kind, act here and now. THANK YOU!

Click here to receive a personalized video greeting by singer Debbie Gibson!

Since 9/11, nearly 5,000 U.S. children have lost a parent who served in the U.S. Military.  For these children, this painful loss at a tender age can lead to depression, hardship, and lifelong sorrow.



Camp Hometown Heroes was launched in 2013  to provide children of the fallen with a community of support, and at long last, a path to healing.

Our nation must never forget the men and women who fought and died to preserve our way of life. The best way to remember these fallen heroes is by embracing the children they left behind.

Thanks to the generosity of thousands of fellow citizens, the life-changing Camp Hometown Heroes programs are provided free of charge.  In honor of their permanent  sacrifice for our nation, we invite you to join our  “Healing Hearts” movement so we can help provide even more children of the fallen with a brighter future.


Camp Hometown Heroes must raise $1,500 for every child
who wishes to attend.

While we are pleased that our camp has nearly doubled in size the past year, we also are saddened as we are denying enrollment to dozens of children who wish to attend.  Simply put, Hometown Heroes needs to raise more funding so that these valuable healing programs can grow.

Camp Hometown Heroes must raise $1,500 for every child who wishes to attend. These funds are utilized to provide room and board, grief counseling, art therapy, supplies, air travel and other related camp expenses.  Funds raised from this "Healing Hearts" campaign will be used to significantly increase the number of children and teenagers served at future camp sessions and other healing programs. 



The camp is operated by the Wisconsin based charity, Hometown Heroes.Collaborative partners include YMCA Camp Matawa in Campbellsport, Wisconsin (the camp host), and Kyle’s Korner which provides pediatric grief counselors and art therapy programming. 

 Camper referral partners include Being There-Reaching Out, several American Legion chapters and American Legion Auxiliaries, Hope for the Warriors, Got Your Back Network,  and many other local and national organizations.

Camp Hometown Heroes Mission: Camp Hometown Heroes is a national free week-long overnight summer camp for children who’ve lost a parent, sibling or other loved one who served in the U.S. military and died in any manner: combat, accidents, illness or suicide.  During their visit to camp, perhaps for the first time in their young lives, the children have the opportunity to openly discuss their feelings and experiences. Through the support of pediatric grief specialists, the children partake in art and music therapy programs and optional discussion groups.

The children are afforded the opportunity to enjoy typical summer camp activities such as swimming, dance, arts and crafts, archery, drama, canoeing, fishing, climbing and more.  But more importantly, the children are given many opportunities to begin or continue the healing process.

Often the loss began before death when the service member was deployed. There can be years of missing that loved one and anticipating what might happen to them.  When a death actually does occur, these children are put in a life category that not many understand.  That’s where Camp Hometown Heroes comes in.

The short film, Healing Hearts, which recently premiered at the GI Film Festival beautifully illustrates the impact Camp Hometown Heroes makes for the children and teenagers and provides a snapshot into some of the issues they face each day.

Upon arrival, the children immediately realize they share a sad common bond. Yet, it is this common bond that allows us to create an atmosphere of understanding and acceptance.  In working with pediatric grief specialists from Kyle’s Korner these children who have lost so much learn how to deal with the loss they have suffered.  When someone says “I know how you feel”, it’s true. 

We cannot begin to make up for what has been lost.  We can only hope to honor the memories of those who gave their lives for our country.  And we can strive to be sure that their children know both they and their loved one have not been forgotten.



Camp Hometown Heroes welcomes the participation of dozens of celebrities including:

                                  Dee Snider of Twisted Sister
                                          NFL star
JJ Watt
                                                                                       American Idol star Naima Adedapo
                Olympic Medalist Gymnast
Chellsie Memmel
                        Michelle Williams of Destiny's Child                                              Trista & Ryan Sutter of ABC The Bachelor and Bachelorette                
TV and Film stars
Jonathan Bennett &  Robbie Amell
and many others. 

Our celebrity ambassadors make a difference by visiting camp, appearing at charity benefits, providing auction support, donor "rewards" and in other capacities. Most importantly, through their warm words and embraces, they let our campers know that they really care.




Impact:  The following is feedback from camp families we received after our debut camp session in 2013. 

“Just wanted to let you know that after an hour of returning home my son received a message from one of the campers. He was so touched by that he actually sat down by me and cried, he cried for two hours which he has not been able to do since the death of his father. I have both the boys in counseling and have had them there for 4 years. This is the 1st time we have had any kind of breakthrough at all. He informed me that he finally cried at camp as well. 

He believes that now he will be able to move forward as God intended! OMG, I cannot believe this is happening. What a miracle this camp has been. Thank you and those wonderful camp counselors for opening my baby's eyes to a much better world. I am so looking forward to our future. Again, thank you and God Bless, PN”

“Just picked up the girls from the airport! They have not stopped talking about camp! I am so excited to hear all about it and sit here in tears because right now they are truly happy children. They are even fighting about letting each other talk. I cannot thank you and everyone who was there this week for giving my girls this gift. My once quiet and reserved teenager is beaming with this happiness that I have not seen in years. You have restored her happy spirit.

She’s made lifetime friends and memories she says she will never forget. My little one is telling me all about her activities and the wonderful people (Naima and Chellsie) she had the opportunity to meet. She loved choir! We are so truly grateful for this experience and I cannot thank you enough.”



Q: How much does it cost to attend camp?
A: Through the generosity of contributors throughout the U.S., Camp Hometown Heroes is provided entirely free of charge to every child.  Our charity, Hometown Heroes, must raise $1,500 per child for each session of camp.

Q: How does Camp Hometown Heroes help the children heal? 
A:  The loss of a parent or sibling at such a tender age can cause a host of serious issues including depression, profound grief and even PTSD.  Our pediatric grief specialists provide several opportunities for healing through art therapy, discussion groups, candle ceremonies and other avenues.   For many of the children, Camp Hometown Heroes provides their first opportunity to be with other children and teenagers who truly understand.   Through art & music therapy, the nurturing of dozens of volunteers and the understanding of peers who truly care, the Camp Hometown Heroes experience is one of great impact for the campers who attend.

Q: Where do the campers live? 
A:  Given the unique nature of our camp, our campers come from throughout the United States including several who travel to our Wisconsin camp all the way from Hawaii.

Q:  How much of my donation is spent on administrative costs? 
A:  A manufacturing company in Wisconsin provides Hometown Heroes with free office space, secretarial support, copy machine/fax/computer/printer access, and administrative support.  As a result, the administrative expenses for our charity are very low.   More than 90% of each contribution is allocated for program services.  We also welcome the support of hundreds of volunteers which is another factor in keeping our expenses low.

Q: Do you have a waiting list?
A: Currently, the camp does have a waiting list. The success of this campaign will allow us to eliminate our current waiting list and add even more children and teenagers in the future. Those interested in registering their child for camp can contact us at 

Q: Why should I contribute to Camp Hometown Heroes? 
A:  We recognize there are countless worthy causes that would appreciate your support.  We humbly request your generous support as we believe strongly that children of fallen U.S. service members truly deserve opportunities for hope, healing and friendship.   Camp Hometown Heroes makes a profound impact on the lives of these children and teenagers.  We take our stewardship of your hard earned funds very seriously and we feel privileged to utilize your donations to greatly improve the lives of children who made the ultimate sacrifice for our nation: the permanent loss of a parent, sibling or other loved one.  We thank you for your consideration.



Jim Kacmarcik, Co-Founder of Camp Hometown Heroes

Jim Kacmarcik is the President of Kapco, Inc. a national metal fabricating and stamping company based in Grafton, Wis., and the Founder of the charity, Hometown Heroes – the organizer of Camp Hometown Heroes.

Jim understands that there is no single greater reward than giving back to the community, which is why the company has been known for its philanthropic efforts and charitable events, donations, volunteering and rewarding quality employees for many years.  Jim has a deep belief in “making people our priority” and in “paying it forward.”  With those themes in mind, Jim is a visionary community leader who has founded a number of non-profit organizations and endeavors.  For his work with the Hometown Heroes charity, Jim has been profiled in an hour long special on Dateline NBC with host Ann Curry. 

In all of his leadership and endeavors, Jim has a strong commitment to excellence. 

Neil Willenson, Co-Founder of Camp Hometown Heroes

Neil Willenson is a national non-profit leader, public speaker, actor, entertainment industry executive and author. Most notably, Willenson is the Founder of One Heartland (formerly Camp Heartland), a U.S. non-profit organization that greatly improves the lives of children, youth and families who experience HIV/AIDS and other significant life challenges worldwide and more recently, the co-Founder of Camp Hometown Heroes for children of fallen U.S. service members.

Willenson has been featured by the Oprah Winfrey Show, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, and Dateline NBC. Willenson and the camps he has founded have been profiled in a CBS Movie of the Week, in the Disney Channel film “Friends for Life,” on Today, Good Morning America, and countless television talk shows. In December 2008, Willenson was named one of GQ Magazine’s “Men of the Year.”


Deb Paschke, Executive Director of Hometown Heroes 

Hometown Heroes Executive Director Deb Paschke has a deep passion for families of fallen U.S. service members.  

She brings extensive volunteering/non-profit/fundraising experience, having served on the Board of Directors of Women for MACC (Midwest Athletes Against Childhood Cancer) and working with the MACC Fund, Marquette University High School, Stars and Stripes Honor Flight and multiple educational entities.  She has a varied broadcasting and public relations background in multiple markets.

"I cannot think of a more rewarding way to spend my life.  I don't think of it as a job-it's not work.  It's the most fulfilling thing I can imagine."


Grief Counseling Volunteers from Kyle's Korner

Camp Hometown Heroes is privileged to welcome the support of over 100 volunteers from many different backgrounds.  Each has a passion for making life better for children of fallen U.S. service members.  We thank our volunteers for sharing their time, talent and hearts with children who truly benefit from their kindness.

Find This Campaign On
raised by 426 people in 1 month
51% funded
No time left
Verified Nonprofit
$100,000 USD goal
Flexible Funding This campaign has ended and will receive all funds raised.
Campaign Closed
This campaign ended on July 31, 2014
Select a Perk
  • $10USD
    "Thank You" on our Honor Wall

    Dedicate your donation to a loved one in the military, a fallen soldier, a veteran, or an individual hero who has meant so much to you. We will post their name and your message of gratitude on our website after our Indiegogo campaign is complete. *Shipping and handling included

    15 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $15USD
    "Freedom is Not Free" Dog Tag

    Show your pride in the U.S.A. by wearing this "Freedom is Not Free" Dog Tag. Your $15 donation will be utilized to provide healing and hope to children of fallen U.S. heroes who made a life-long sacrifice for our nation.

    14 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $25USD
    Real Heroes T-Shirt

    ON SALE - normally $50! "Real heroes don't wear capes. THEY WEAR DOG TAGS". Celebrate these heroes with your grey Camp Hometown Heroes t-shirt. (See below for a picture of the shirt.) Sizes available: XS, S, M, L, XL, XXL We will email you for size information after the campaign. *Shipping and handling included

    30 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $50USD
    CHH Metal Water Bottle

    An eco-friendly stainless steel Camp Hometown Heroes water bottle. It's a silver bottle with green Camp Hometown Heroes logo. (See below for a picture of the bottle.) *Shipping and handling included

    12 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $50USD
    CAKE BOSS Autographed Photo!

    Receive a photo autographed by the Cake Boss himself - Buddy Valastro! Camp Hometown Heroes is proud to partner with Buddy and Carlo's Bakery in making life better for children of fallen U.S. service members. *Shipping and handling included

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $75USD
    Christmas Ornament

    Bring Camp Hometown Heroes to your holiday with this 3" custom pewter ornament featuring the camp logo. *Shipping and handling included

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $100USD
    Liberated Iraqi Memorial Coin

    Liberated Iraqi coin. This single commemorative coin comes in its own velvet case. It has never been touched by human hands and is in uncirculated condition. A certificate of authenticity is included. *Shipping and handling included

    11 out of 250 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $100USD
    Hero "Thank You" Package

    For our sincere appreciation you will receive: - Camp Hometown HeroesDog Tag with chain - Camp Hometown Heroes Documentary HEALING HEARTS DVD - Camp Hometown Heroes T-Shirt - Camo Rubber "Camp Hometown Heroes" Bracelet + Your name on our website (Personalized Message) *Shipping and handling included

    22 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $150USD
    16"x 20" Picture Canvas

    This 16" x 20" canvas collage brings you images from the very first Camp Hometown Heroes held in 2013. Display this canvas proudly as you become a major part in helping these Children of Fallen US Service Members. (see photo below for an example) *Shipping and handling included

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $150USD
    CAKE BOSS Butter Cookie Tray

    Receive Carlo's "World Famous" 2lb. Butter Cookie Tray, baked fresh at Carlo’s Bakery. A fine assortment of their famous Italian butter cookies to serve at any party or gathering! Your tray will include round Carlo's cookies with nuts, half moon with cherries, half moon dipped in chocolate, French seashell, round jelly. This tray is a perfect gift idea for home, office, friends and family. + An autographed photo of "Cake Boss" Buddy Valastro! *Shipping and handling included

    3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: September 2014
  • $150USD
    Debbie Gibson Video Message!

    Know someone special who has served? Or just someone you want to give a special shout-out to? How about a personalized video from singer and actress Debbie Gibson! Following our campaign in early August we will contact you to find out what you want Debbie to say or sing. Debbie will put her own spin on it to make it unique! This is a very fun gift opportunity!

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: August 2014
  • $200USD
    CHH Pewter Necklace

    A beautifully crafted pewter necklace made specifically for our Indiegogo Campaign with the Camp Hometown Heroes logo as the centerpiece of the design. *Shipping and handling included

    2 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $400USD
    Sterling Silver Necklace

    A beautifully crafted Sterling Silver necklace made specifically for our Indiegogo Campaign with the Camp Hometown Heroes logo as the centerpiece of the design. This can be used for a charm bracelet as well! *Shipping and handling included

    1 out of 100 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $500USD
    CHH Flag

    This striking 3' x 5' flag is the same design flown over Camp Hometown Heroes. It is a white flag with the green Camp Hometown Heroes logo in the middle of the flag. *Shipping and handling included

    1 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $1,000USD
    Memorial Coin Shadow Box

    Honor someone who has served. This shadow box can be customized for the Army, Marines, Air Force, Navy, Coast Guard, Law Enforcement or Firefighter. The 9"x20" glass-front wooden frame includes tributes and coins specific to the individual branch of service, certificate of authenticity and two liberated Iraqi coins. + American country music artist, Lee Greenwood, "God Bless the USA", will sign the back of each piece for a crowdfunding only special! *Shipping and handling included

    1 out of 250 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $1,500USD
    Sponsor a Camper

    This is your opportunity to sponsor a camper. Your pledge will ensure that this camper will spend a week with others who know exactly how they feel. You'll also receive a personal letter from a camper and a canvas collage reprint of the original artwork made at this year's camp. + Name on "Thank You" sign at next years camp! *Shipping and handling included

    11 out of 90 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $2,500USD
    CHH Camping Experience

    Receive a Custom Camp Hometown Heroes Fire Ring: You'll get the real feeling of camp with this custom designed Camp Hometown Heroes Fire Ring. Plus, you will receive one of eight American flags flown at Camp Hometown Heroes: When you raise your American flag, you'll know you were a major it flew over 100 children of heroes at camp in 2014 + Name on "Thank You" sign at next years camp! *Shipping and handling included

    0 out of 8 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2014
  • $4,500USD
    Platinum Camper Sponsorship

    You will be personally sponsoring three campers. In some cases, this could mean an entire family. We're also having 3 canvases custom made by our 2014 campers. (examples below) First person in gets to choose. Plus you will receive personal letters from your campers. + Name on "Thank You" sign at next years camp! *Shipping and handling included

    0 out of 3 claimed
    Estimated delivery: October 2014
  • $5,000USD
    Dinner with Dee Snider

    Dee Snider is a great friend of Camp Hometown Heroes and is even sponsoring a camper himself. He'll take you and and one other friend to a private dinner at the legendary Friar's Club in New York City. Date mutually agreed upon. Travel is responsibility of donor. + Name on "Thank You" sign at next years camp!

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    Dinner with Mick Foley

    Mick Foley is a WWE Hall of Famer and a Camp Hometown Heroes Hall of Famer. He'll buy you and one other friend dinner where you'll spend time with a wrestling renaissance man. After the ring he went on to be a comedian, author and actor. Date and location to be mutually determined. + Name on "Thank You" sign at next years camp!

    0 out of 1 claimed
  • $5,000USD
    CAKE BOSS Bake with Mauro

    Ever imagine baking with Cake Boss with 25 friends? Here is your once in a lifetime chance! Receive a free private tour of Carlo’s Bakery in New Jersey, along with a private baking class for up to 25 people taught by lead baker and designer, Mauro Castano from TLC's hit TV show, Cake Boss! ***Valued at over $8,000!

    0 out of 3 claimed
  • $25,000USD
    Sponsor Heroes at Sea Cruise

    Platinum Cruise Sponsorship: Top level sponsorships are available for corporations, foundations, organizations or individuals who wish to be a partner for our Heroes at Sea Thanksgiving Week cruise. Our sponsors will receive PR and marketing recognition, ability to use the “Heroes at Sea” brand in their own marketing, and the knowledge that they are making a profound impact on the lives of children of fallen U.S. heroes.

    0 out of 4 claimed
    Estimated delivery: November 2014
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