Lions Camp Merrick is located at 3650 Rick Hamilton Place, Nanjemoy, Maryland on 320 acres of land in Charles County, Maryland and overlooks the beautiful and scenic Potomac River. The site has a rich camping history. It began in the 1930’s when the Merrick family established a camp for boys from the greater Washington area. In the 1950’s the Merrick family bequeathed the camp to the Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Washington which turned it into a camp for deaf children. During the 1970’s, the Archdiocese experienced difficulty maintaining the camp and its buildings began to deteriorate. The church officials approached the Lions of Washington, D.C. and the Maryland counties of Calvert, Charles, Montgomery, Prince Georges and St. Marys (District 22-C) for help and proposed an arrangement to jointly run the Camp for the Deaf. In 1979, delegates at the Lions Convention in Virginia Beach approved this arrangement. In 1988 the Lions of District 22-C officially approved making the camp a Lions district project and leased the camp from the Archdiocese (with the option to buy). The camp was renamed “Lions Camp Merrick”. The mission of the camp was also changed to serve not only the deaf but also visually impaired children and adults. The camp was incorporated in the State of Maryland in 1990, became a 501(c)(3) organization and a Constitution and By-Laws was written. In 1997, the Waldorf Lions Foundation purchased the camp for approximately $700,000 and leased it to the Lions Clubs of District 22-C for $10.00 for 50 years. In 1998, the American Diabetes Association sold their camp in the Baltimore area (Camp Glyndon) and, at their request, entered into an arrangement with Lions Camp Merrick to expand its summer camping program to include Camp Glyndon’s and to jointly run a summer camp for children diagnosed with diabetes. Lions Camp Merrick assumed the entire responsibility for Camp Glyndon in 2005. Camp Glyndon at Lions Camp Merrick is supported by the American Diabetes Association.
OUR MISSION: “Our summer camp programs promote the education, creative expression and social growth of special needs youth. Lions Camp Merrick fosters friendships between children facing similar challenges and provides the community and Lions with opportunities for service, philanthropy and leadership.”
The camp has provided thousands of youth with special needs a loving and caring environment where everyone can participate. The children participate in outdoor activities such as canoeing, a challenge course, archery, fishing, nature walks, swimming, story telling by the campfire, basketball, baseball/softball and various arts and crafts. A staff of specially trained counselors and medical personnel are always available at the camp during the camping season. Most children have over a hundred camps to choose from in Maryland, however, there is only one such camp for these special children, Lions Camp Merrick. The children that attend the camp come mostly from Maryland, Washington, D.C. and Northern Virginia but several come from other States. The camp also annually hosts, at the end of the camping season, a special camp for blind adults.
During the spring, fall and winter weekends Boy and Girl Scout troops, Eagle Scouts and 4-H clubs use the camp and the middle school children from Charles County use the camp for environmental studies. When the camping season is not in session, the camp is equipped and is prepared to host seasonal projects, group seminars and family outings. With generous support from the State of Maryland, Lions Clubs International, individual Lions and Lioness, Lions and Lioness Clubs, and other organizations the camp is a facility that can accommodate year round activities. During this past year, the camp was host to over 3,500 children and other activities.
Lions Camp Merrick is governed by its Constitution and By-Laws, the provisions of its 501(c)(3) status and its Articles of Incorporation. It is also governed by a Board of Directors that includes Lions, Lioness and private citizens. There is also a Lions Camp Merrick Council that is made up of representatives from all of the Lions and Lioness Clubs in District 22-C. The camp employs a small permanent staff at the Waldorf office and at the Nanjemoy site. During the camping season, part time support personnel, counselors and medical personnel are employed.
Lions Camp Merrick is a beautiful camping facility and is the pride of the Lions of District 22-C. It is a place to be enjoyed and to provide its special children a place to experience the beauty of nature, to have fun and to learn. In the true spirit of Lionism, it is dedicated to service.