Camp Independence is the nation’s oldest and original preparedness gathering. The event started in 1968 with a small group from Chicago renting a single cabin at Tippecanoe River State Park in Indiana, and conducting outdoor survival training.

The event grew over the years until Live Free USA rented the entire Group Camp facility including 32 cabins, a dining hall, and a variety of training buildings. The programs expanded to include more emergency preparedness, defense, self-reliance, and disaster survival programs. Full scale disaster drills, and scenario based training involving scores of families and groups were a frequent part of the program.

The event—and Live Free USA—garnered national attention in the 1980’s with media vans and even helicopters landing at the park. The end of the Cold War brought a false sense of security and a decline in support for survival and preparedness education. Live Free struggled to continue operations and participation in Camp Independence drew smaller crowds. Recovery was underway, when the Indiana DNR elected to close the Group Camp facilities five years ago. We tried some other venues, but eventually elected to use the remaining Tepicon Hall at the same park for events, while we seek to raise funds for our own facilities.

Of course, Camp Independence was canceled in 2020 because of the pandemic. Some felt we should postpone the 2021 event, but we felt it was important to reestablish our commitment to survival and preparedness in the wake of the very kind of disaster we have been predicting and preparing families for over fifty years.

It’s back this year as a single-day event on Saturday, May 11th from 9am-6pm at the Tippecanoe River State Park in Indiana. For more information, visit