Five Years of MMA Summer Camp Helps Iowa Teen Learn Integrity and Leadership

Five Years of MMA Summer Camp Helps Iowa Teen Learn Integrity and Leadership

Read Kameron's story as featured in his local newspaper. Shared with permission from TimesCitizen.com.

Summer camp may be designed for kids to have fun, but the benefits go much deeper. Thirteen-year-old Kameron Adams, from the Iowa Falls and Eldora, Iowa communities, has been attending Missouri Military Academy (MMA) summer camps for five consecutive years.

From his first experience at Confidence Camp at age 9 to his recent recognition as a platoon leader at Leadership Camp this past summer, Kameron and his mother, Danni Adams, both agree MMA summer camps have allowed him to grow and mature.

“I like how [MMA] acknowledges people who put in the work,” Danni says, “and they see the potential for future recognition in [Kameron].”

At MMA, Confidence Camp is a residential camp designed to instill boys ages 8-11 with self-esteem through teamwork and challenging activities like rappelling, paintball and high ropes courses. At Leadership Camp, young men ages 12-17 learn responsibility and leadership skills by participating in a variety of activities including pugil sticks, first aid with certification and rifle marksmanship. At. both camps participants complete daily physical training and learn practical skills such as knot tying and map reading.

Danni, who learned about MMA summer camps through a Google search, says she and her husband, Damon Adams, initially chose to send Kameron to Confidence Camp because they were looking for something with discipline that would challenge their son. Year after year, she says Kameron, who attends South Hardin Middle School, has chosen to come back to camp.

Below, Kameron poses for a photo at MMA before his one of his first years at camp.

summer camper stands at Missouri Military Academy front sign

“[Going to camp] has never been a thing I had to push,” Danni says. “He likes the challenge and misses home, but it is good for him.”

According to the American Camp Association, attending summer camp helps kids like Kameron create lasting friendships and develop important life skills such as empathy, compassion, teamwork and critical thinking.

Below, a young Kameron participates in physical training at MMA Confidence Camp.

summer camper doing push-ups

According to MMA Leadership Camp Director Doug Wright, Kameron was one of those exceptional campers he has seen naturally drawn to leadership roles.

"This year it was clear that Kameron has honed his leadership skills by building them over the many camps he has attended at Missouri Military Academy,” Wright says. 

Below, Kameron climbs the Venture Out high ropes course during 2023 Leadership Camp.

Wright says Kameron’s effective communication, ability to delegate and inspire his team helped to skyrocket his camp platoon into success.

“He and his team members of Delta Company second platoon fed off each other's skills, personality traits and the leadership of platoon leader Kameron Adams with such effectiveness that they won Honor Platoon,” Wright says. 

Camp platoons are evaluated for selection as honor platoon by how well they embody MMA’s core values and motto – love, honor, truth – and how well they outperform peers in all aspects of camp life.

Below, Kameron refines his marksmanship at the Academy's rifle range during MMA Leadership Camp, 2023.

Since his first year of camp, Kameron says the most valuable lesson he has learned is to have integrity in his actions. He says he also learned when to “step up and be a leader or when to listen to others and follow their lead.”

Below, Kameron and his fellow Delta Company second platoon are recognized as the honor platoon for MMA's 2023 Leadership Camp.

He also says his favorite part of attending MMA summer camps has been meeting new people. He recalls his initial feelings of nervousness before attending his first Confidence Camp but says he felt more at ease each year after knowing what to expect.

In regard to new campers, Kameron offers some advice on how to make the most of their summer experience:

“Be encouraging to each other; you are only as strong as your weakest link,” Kameron says. “Embrace the challenges that are put in front of you and push yourself.”

Danni says she has enjoyed seeing Kameron’s growth from MMA summer camps over the years. Even over the course of a two-week camp, she says Kameron’s maturity is visible. Her advice to incoming parents and campers is simple:

“Embrace the whole experience and put your trust in the lieutenants, and you'll see growth in your child throughout the year.” 

Below, Leadership Camp Director Doug Wright with Kameron Adams, July 2023.

Missouri Military Academy summer camper receives graduation certificate

In addition to Confidence Camp and Leadership Camp, MMA also offers Summer Academy – a residential academic camp for grades 7-12 with a day camp option – and Equestrian Camp, a co-ed day camp with horseback riding instruction for youth ages 8-12.

Cadet News