Seacamp Association, Inc., ("Seacamp") is a non-profit corporation. It was established in 1966 for the purpose of providing facilities and programs for a marine science camp for teenagers in the Florida Keys. The idea grew from an experimental program started by the Girl Scouts on West Summerland Key in 1964. After Hurricane Betsy in 1965, the Girl Scouts were forced to drop the program. Campers and parents urged the Camp Director, Mrs. Irene Hooper, to continue the project and offered help in establishing the Seacamp Association, Inc. An ideal location was discovered on Big Pine Key at Newfound Harbor, which is now the site of Seacamp.
The aims of Seacamp include providing opportunities for exploring interest in the marine sciences and for discovering methods of conserving the resources of the ocean environs. Some campers may indeed become the scientists of tomorrow. Hopefully, many of the others will become the informed voting citizenry who will guide the development of our marine resources. Seacamp strives to provide an atmosphere of camaraderie through the fellowship of camping, sports, and recreational activities; and a spirit of healthful living through the development of positive skills and attitudes.
In 1970, the Seacamp Association, Inc. expanded into a year-round program to include the Newfound Harbor Marine Institute ("NHMI"). NHMI also has marine environmental education as its goal and hosts numerous groups - public and private schools, colleges, and adult workshops - from September through May of each year.
NHMI is a full-service environmental education facility providing meals, lodging, boat trips, lab space, library access, and professional instruction to groups and individuals studying the unique tropical marine ecosystem of the Lower Florida Keys. The programs are highly flexible, with groups visiting from 3 to 30 days, in addition to one-day programs for local schools.