John Annoni is in his twenty-seventh year with the Allentown School District and is the founder of Camp Compass. He was raised by his grandparents and surrounding relatives. He is married to Annette Annoni and has one son named Landon. All of his life he has lived in Allentown and because of his inner city and educational experience he was able to develop a trend setting outdoor system. After graduating from Safari Club International’s A.W.L.S. school and working summer programs for Pool Wildlife Sanctuary, he confirmed his idea that many kids needed more of an opportunity to take part in what impacted his life –“real” outdoor experiences. Due to limited resources as a child, John was not able to hunt and fish often but that did not prevent him from trying to find ways to be away from the city. Coming from a family of non-sportsmen John relied on outreach programs, books, relatives and neighbors to expose him to the outdoors and its activities. His multi award winning program is set up to do just that take students and show them the many opportunities outside their urban environment.
Beginning in 1994 with some of his classroom students, John started developing conservation curriculum and using it after school. The student’s response was strong and over time John’s enrichment program grew into a federally recognized 501c3 organization called Camp Compass Academy.
Camp Compass is a unified effort introducing urban students in grades five through twelve to various outdoor activities. During the sessions students are introduced and networked to numerous community businesses and working role models. The consequence is an educated population understanding selected careers, conservation, sportsmen’s philosophies and their activities.
This project reaches and molds inner city students by providing them with hands on experiences and lessons designed to broaden their knowledge of the outdoors and its industrial aspects. To accomplish this goal informative lessons are provided with language rich and hands on activities. While participating in outdoor experiences students are involved in integrated and adapted Language Arts, Science, Social studies and Mathematics curriculum to enhance their learning. The imprinting of this incremented program dispels the many myths about sportsmen and conservation. It allows the students to use their discretion when passing judgment upon various conservation issues.
Camp Compass is unique because it also permits students to spend time with teachers outside of school and its normal hours. Second, the students are held accountable for their behaviors both inside and outside of school. Next, in some cases this program has become a surrogate activity provider for many single parent and non conservation minded households. Finally, it guides students to becoming valuable members of society through mentoring.
Currently, this unique effort runs in five stages with each stage filtering deserving students into the next level. All Levels have special adapted academic curriculum to enhance Camp Compass’s educational agenda. Due to Camp Compass’s unique philosophy, it has been able to gain support from community business and educational site partners that represent the outdoor industry and professional community. Many organizations such as: Delta Waterfowl, Ducks Unlimited, National Wild Turkey Federation, RMEF, Sertoma Club, Jaycees and Lion’s Clubs have joined Safari Club International in supporting this program. The program that John Annoni started has impacted young lives over a substantial period of time. It goes beyond spending a day in the woods and water with a child. He has have given students a new outlook on conservation, sportsmen’s philosophies and life. John is responsible for founding a program that joins different cultures, ages and socioeconomic groups to ensure our country’s great outdoor heritage continues to progress into the future.