Miami University lands coveted youth camp for next 5 summers

Miami University has landed one of Ohio’s most popular summer youth camps having lured it away from another state university.

Miami officials recently announced the school’s main Oxford campus will host the American Legion’s Buckeye Boys State summer camp for five years, starting in 2017.

Bowling Green State University in Northwest Ohio had hosted the annual event, which attracts 1,200 Ohio high school seniors plus hundreds of staffers and parents, for nearly 40 years.

But recent contract extension negotiations between Bowling Green and youth organization were unsuccessful and Buckeye officials opened up bids to other Ohio colleges with Miami winning.

“We are thrilled to welcome the program to campus,” said Miami University President David Hodge of the five-year contract.

“The American Legion Buckeye Boys State theme – ‘A Week to Shape a Lifetime’ — resonates strongly at Miami. Like the American Legion, Miami is deeply committed to student success, and we believe in empowering students to use their knowledge and skills with integrity and compassion to improve the future of our global society,” said Hodge.

Jerry White, Buckeye Boys State director, said “the program is excited in looking to our future partnership with Miami University and the Oxford community.”

The Buckeye Boys State features hands-on experience in the operation of the democratic form of government, the organization of political parties, and the relationship of one to the other in shaping Ohio government.

Founded in 1936, Buckeye Boys State is the largest Boys State program in the nation.

While not the largest of groups to use Miami's campus for summer break gatherings — Monday and Tuesday saw the Great Ohio Bike Adventure event attract more than 3,000 participants and supporters to Miami — the Buckeye Boys State event will last for eight days, boosting both the university and the surround Oxford city's economies.

Neither Miami nor Oxford city officials could provide projections on the extent of that economic impact but The Toledo Blade has reported that Bowling Green charged Buckeye officials $314,786 for the summer of 2015 event.

David Creamer, vice president for finance and business at Miami, said “the economic impact is hard to measure beyond the fee of $258 that the university will receive for each participant. Parents do accompany their sons at the beginning of the event and then at the end, so some local spending occurs during those times.”

The 1,200 teens will stay in Miami residence halls just a few blocks from Oxford’s downtown businesses.

“This is equivalent in size to our larger groups that we bring in but they are definitely staying longer. Most groups that cross 1,000 people are here for a weekend sporting tournament or a weekend alumni conference or reunion,” said Jessica Greene, executive director of the Oxford Visitors Bureau. “We are excited to have these young men coming to our community in 2017.”

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