ICOO Karl E. Kelley Memorial Camp

David James “DJ” Preece

About DJ Preece and the ICOO Karl E. Kelley Memorial Youth Camp

DJ Preece attended the KEK Camp in June of 2015 via a scholarship funded by the Central Indiana Chapter of Pheasants Forever and Quail Forever. He passed away unexpectedly and suddenly on September 12th, 2015.  He was 12 years old.

From 2016 through 2022, the Foundation offered a scholarship to afford the opportunity to other students to experience what DJ emphatically stated to be the time of his life – a week at the Indiana Conservation Officer Organization (ICOO) Karl E. Kelley Memorial Youth Camp. Starting in 2023, we no longer offer a scholarship. Instead, we provide a direct donation to the Camp to benefit ALL the campers who attend.

DJ was small in stature at 4 foot 3 inches tall, but he made up for it by living to enjoy everything he did, and by trying to make sure others did the same.  He did not do things to be the best – he did them to experience doing them. Along the way, he learned and enjoyed many things and made many people smile. One of the ICOO camp counselors wrote the following about DJ:

“I only got to be around DJ for a week but it was a week I will never forget thanks to him. By getting to see how DJ acted and how kind- hearted he was, I could tell that I was not the only one that enjoys being around him. DJ would always walk out of the tent in a good attitude and always came out smiling.

During the camp I would have never thought that a kid would ever get to me and change me, but I was wrong. As soon as I arrived home I told my parents about the camp and told them stories. The more and more stories I told, I figured out a common theme, which is that they all had to do with DJ. I was in shock when I heard the news [of his passing] and did not know what to say. Therefore, I decided to tell the people who were closest to him about my time with the most outgoing, kindhearted, and well-rounded person I was blessed to meet. I promise you that DJ may be gone but he will never be forgotten in my heart and many others.”

More about DJ Preece and his life can be found online on a memorial Facebook page here and via the Facebook link at the top of this page.

Detailed information about the camp can be found online here

You can see more about the Karl E. Kelley Camp at the camp Facebook page here.

Many parents who have sent their child to the camp have stated their child came back changed – for the better.