All Kids Should Experience the Magic of Camp

Growing up in Lexington, Kentucky, in the 1930s, Peter Knapp never attended camp, nor was he involved in YMCA programs. After moving to Dayton in the 1970s, however, he quickly learned the value the YMCA provides children and families.

“He was very impressed that so many people in the community had some childhood connection to the YMCA, through learning to swim or participating in other programs,” said Barbara (Babs) Knapp, Peter Knapp’s wife of 51 years. “He felt the ‘Y’ reached into all areas of our community and offered many valuable opportunities for our young people. This was his impetus for becoming involved as a board member.”

After her husband passed away in 2009, Mrs. Knapp and her family decided to honor his memory and his more than 15 years of volunteer service as a YMCA of Greater Dayton board member and chairman by establishing the Peter Osborn Knapp YMCA Camp Kern Scholarship Fund through The Dayton Foundation. The fund, which announced its first scholarship award in June, helps children with financial need to attend YMCA Camp Kern.

This was a fitting tribute, according to Tim Helm, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Dayton, especially when awarded in conjunction with the Camp’s 100th anniversary celebration.

“Pete had a special place in his heart for the YMCA Camp Kern and for children,” Tim Helm said. “So many families in the Greater Dayton Region simply don't have the financial means to send their children to camp. This fund is a special way to honor him and will help us continue to send kids to the YMCA Camp Kern for the next 100 years and more.”

With a passion for giving back to his community, Peter Knapp, who was the regional executive vice president, Credit Administration, for KeyBank, NA, dedicated his spare time to volunteering for numerous organizations. These included The Dayton Art Institute, Grandview Medical Center, St. Leonard’s Home, St. Mary Development Corporation and St. Paul’s Episcopal Church, among others.

Dayton Foundation President Michael Parks, who previously was the president and CEO of the local YMCA, remembers Peter Knapp for his commitment, counsel and caring. “He was a model board member, who would do whatever was needed, with a can do, positive attitude,” Mike Parks said. “Even after retiring in 1997 and moving to Hilton Head with his wife, he was a constant source of counsel and insight. He knew how this community worked, whom he could turn to and where to go to get things done.”

“He believed that the greatest gift we can give others is to encourage our children to strive to be the best that they can be and to lead this sometimes muddled world into a better future,” Babs Knapp said. “That’s what he wanted most. YMCA Camp Kern, he felt, gave kids a strong foundation for the future. He would be extremely proud of this fund, and my family and I are happy to do this for him.”

For recent news and updates about The Dayton Foundation, read our press releases online.

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File date: 9.20.14


Charles Simms

“You get a good feeling giving to the community through The Dayton Foundation and knowing that you’re inspiring future generations.” – Charles Simms, CEO of Simms Management Corporation and Dayton Foundation endowment fund donor

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