Close-up purple tents grouped together under the trees at night.

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 YSS Street Outreach Program. As a result of Reggie’s death, YSS led the effort to develop the Iowa Aftercare Services Network to provide services to those aging out of foster care.

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

Nationwide Boxed-In Design Contest

Get creative with the Nationwide Boxed-In Design Contest. Plan the design for your enclosure, using only the allowed materials. Awards will be given for creativity and overall design.

  • Judging will begin 8:00 p.m. and the winners will be announced during the evening activities
  • Structures must be under 15 feet tall
What materials are allowed?
  • Cardboard, paper, props, tape, string or rope, small staples, crayons, chalk, water-based markers, and battery powered lighting may be used for effect.
What materials are not allowed in the Drake Stadium?
  • Paint, wood, permanent markers, large staples, glue, and styrofoam.

Day of Information


CHECK-IN: 5:00-7:00 p.m.

  • Check-in is located at the northeast concession stand at Drake Stadium
  • Bring completed minor consent forms (if under the age of 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).


  • Minor consent form (if necessary)
  • Sleeping bag/blankets and pillow
  •  Weather appropriate clothing (we will sleepout
    either rain or shine).
  •  We suggest dressing in layers – hat, gloves, and warm socks
  • Tent or supplies for cardboard enclosure


  • Outside food, drink, or gum (only empty water bottles allowed) – food will be provided
  • Tent stakes, and any prohibited Nationwide Boxed-In Contest materials
  • Prohibited materials (wood, large staples, glue, Styrofoam, insulation, paint, permanent markers)
  • Valuable items (YSS 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 water are provided. Note – no food is permitted on the field
  • 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 11:00 p.m.
  • Any questions, first-aid, and lost & found, visit the Information Tent


  • Ask friends, family, neighbors, classmates, or co-workers to support your fundraising efforts. You can also ask members of your church, youth group, or community organization to get involved. They can write you a check or donate online on your behalf. 

    Checks can be sent to:

    Iowa Homeless Youth Centers
    Attn: Reggie’s Sleepout
    612 Locust Street
    Des Moines, IA 50309


5:00-7:00pm       Check-In     

5:00-8:00pm       Design and set-up cardboard enclosures                         

6:00-8:00pm       Dinner – Pizza

8:00pm                  Welcome message                                  

8:15-10:00pm       Social activities, Drake University student athletes, Announce winners, DJ entertainment

10:00-11:00pm     Snack Shack

Midnight                  Lights out


All campers must be picked up no later than 8:00 a.m. on Sunday, October 1st. Prior to leaving, please tear down your boxes, and take cardboard to the edge of the turf and throw away all trash.