About RSO

Close-up purple tents grouped together under the trees at night.
About Reggie's

Meet Reggie

2021 marked 20 years since the passing of Reggie Kelsey and his memory lives on at the heart of this event.

Reggie’s Sleepout was created in 2005 in memory of Reggie Kelsey. Reggie was a young man who aged out of the foster care system in 2001, and within three and a half months, was found dead in the Des Moines River.

Reggie had an endearing personality but suffered from hallucinations and depression. He worried about how he would survive on his own. After being kicked out of his latest foster care placement, Reggie bounced from one shelter to another. Occasionally he camped outside while working with Iowa Homeless Youth Centers’ Street Outreach Program.

As a result of Reggie’s death, Youth & Shelter Services, Inc. (IHYC’s parent organization) led the effort to develop the Iowa Aftercare Services Network to provide services to those aging out of foster care. The program has now been expanded to include a monthly stipend and additional services and is referred to as the Preparation for Adult Living (PAL) program.

Reggie’s Sleepout is named in honor of Reggie, and our commitment to preventing another tragedy.

Why we sleepout

In the year’s following the first Reggie’s Sleepout, YSS and IHYC has been able to continue to expand their services to help homeless and at-risk youth in Central Iowa. As the world around us continues to change so does the methods and areas of focus we utilize with homeless and at-risk youth. Learn about some of the exciting projects we are working on now to improve the lives of our youth at iowahomelessyouth.org. 

Nationwide Boxed in Design Contest

Get creative with your team, and enter the Nationwide Boxed-In Design Contest. Plan the design for your team’s shelter/enclosure, using only the allowed materials. Awards will be given for the Top Design, Top Educational, and Best in Show.

  • Complete the entry form or pick one up at the Information Tent to be entered
  • All entries must be submitted to the Info Tent by 7 PM
  • Judging will begin 8 PM, and the winners will be announced at 10:30 PM
  • Structures must be under 15 feet tall
What materials are OK to use?
  • Cardboard, Paper, Props, Tape, String or rope, Small staples, Crayons, Chalk, Water-Based Markers, Battery powered lighting may be used for effect.
What materials are NOT ok to use?
  • Paint, Wood, Permanent Markers, Large Staples, Glue, Styrofoam
  • Box designs using prohibited materials will not be allowed in the stadium

Day of information


  • Don’t forget to register online prior coming to Reggie’s Sleepout. Day-of registration will be available, but the lines could be long
  • There is no registration fee but a suggested donation of $25 helps cover the cost of the food and event details as well as earns you your 2022 RSO T-shirt


  • Check-in is located at the Northeast concession stand at Drake Stadium
  • It will be easiest for you to check in as a team (your team captain or chaperone may check-in for you. Please do not bring all members of your team if you are a group of 3+)
  • Check-in materials needed: Money fundraised (separated by camper) and completed Donation Tracker, Minor consent forms (if under 18)
  • Remember: all campers under the age of 18 must have a supervising adult with them all night (one adult over the age of 21 to every six youth age 18 and under).


  • Check-in material (see above)
  • Sleeping bag/blankets and pillow
  •  Weather appropriate clothing (we will sleepout
    either rain, snow, or shine).
  •  We suggest dressing in layers
  •  Don’t forget a hat, gloves, and warm socks
  • Tent or supplies for cardboard box shelter
  • Cardboard and all building materials are not provided. Please bring all the items you will need!
  •  Money for the Reggie’s Store


  • Outside food, drink, or gum (only empty water bottles allowed) – food will be provided
  • Tent stakes, and any prohibited Boxed-In Contest materials
  • Prohibited materials (wood, large staples, glue, Styrofoam, insulation, paint, permanent markers)
  • Valuable items (IHYC is not responsible for any lost or stolen items at Reggie’s Sleepout)
  • This is a tobacco and alcohol-free event. No tobacco and alcohol is allowed on the premises, and violators will be escorted out


  • Food, snacks and drinks are provided. Note – no food is permitted on the field
  • Mac & Cheese served from 4-10 PM (gluten-free options available)
  • Pizza served at 11 PM
  • Visit the Snack Shack for snacks and water
  • Event wristbands must be worn to enter the field
  • Non-campers will need to get a guest pass at check-in, and will not be allowed on the field after 11 PM
  • Any questions, first-aid, and lost & found, visit the Info/Volunteer Tent

All campers must leave by 8 AM on Sunday, Oct. 30th. When leaving, please do the following:

  1. Tear down your boxes, and take cardboard to the edge of the turf
  2. Throw away all trash