Camp DaKaNi was founded in 1956 with the help of Lee Ellen Points and Dr. Tom Points. Camp DaKaNi was designed as a day camp for the youth service organization, Camp Fire Girls. In the beginning, Camp DaKaNi was on 23 acres of wooded land with only one small building.
In 1959, the Board of Directors for Camp Fire Girls in Oklahoma City, voted to purchase an additional 10 acres of land, making the 33 acres that Camp DaKaNi has today.
In the late 1960’s there were several major grounds improvements made at camp. Our Fishing Pond, later named Gwen’s Pond after the retiring director Gwen Wilson was dug. Additionally, swinging bridges, a zip line, seating for Council Fire and the camp ranger’s house was built.
In the 1970’s the large picnic pavilion or “Dick’s Den” after volunteer, Dick Gravlin, was built along with our two cabins. After Dicks passing in 2013, his family and friends provided scholarship funds in his memory for campers to attend summer camp. 1975 brought exciting changes to Camp Fire Girls, the parent organization of Camp DaKaNi, when boys were allowed to join Camp Fire and attend camp.
A Camp Fire volunteer, Don Glass, built the concession stand at the picnic pavilion and the large wooden Camp DaKaNi sign located at gate #3 in the 1980’s.
After the tragic Murrah Building bombing in 1995, Camp Dakani reached out to children and families who were effected. Red bud trees were planted in loving memory of each child killed and special camp sessions were held for families needing a place to find peace and healing.
In the late 1980’s a new bathhouse was built
In 1998 an F3 tornado tore through camp and heavily damaged every structure and hundreds of trees. The tornado struck on a Saturday when no campers were in attendance. Several hundred volunteers throughout the community donated time to help our camp recover. Volunteers helped repair buildings, clear debris, and plant new trees.
The Nature Center and Day Camp Office was built in 2001, which helped Camp Fire expand the Outdoor School program and provide a new space to help campers at Day Camp. The Nature Center was funded by grants and donations and included an infirmary, camp office, several closets, a fully equipped kitchen, and large meeting space. This building made a huge impact on several programs, allowing Camp Fire and Camp DaKaNi to grow and reach more youth in the community.
Throughout the 2000’s, several specialty trails and nature exploration features were added to camp to help campers discover nature in new and exciting ways. Camp DaKaNi strives to continually seek new ways to help youth understand nature.
After a large flood in the summer of 2010, Camp DaKaNi was left with no bridges, building damage and large piles of debris throughout camp. One week of camp was cancelled, and during that week, the Camp DaKaNi staff were once again overwhelmed by the generous help of community volunteers. With their time and efforts, camp was able to reopen the following week.
2011 and 2012 brought in several exciting new changes for Camp Fire and Camp DaKaNi. A 26 foot portable auto-belay rock wall was donated, and the low elements ropes course was rebuilt by OG&E.
Two outdoor programs were created: GOTCHA, a holiday break science camp and Camp CANOE, a specialty week of camp designed for children with autism.
After the tornados that took place across Oklahoma in May of 2013, Camp DaKaNi once again reached out to the families in need. A free camp, meals, gas money and clothing was offered to any family who lost their home during the tornadoes.
2013 was a record breaking summer, when more children attended camp than ever before.
As Camp Fire’s Camp DaKaNi moves into the future, we plan to continue to grow by expanding into resident camping, adding new features like a permanent rock wall, high elements ropes course, a bunk house and more!