The Saint Florian Center, named after the patron saint of firefighters, was formed in 1992 by two Indianapolis firefighters. In 1993, we became incorporated as a not for profit youth leadership development organization. SFC has provided programming to over 31,000 youth since 1993.
The Saint Florian Center has grown over the years from solely operating a summer leadership development camp to empowering youth in safe, nurturing, challenging and educational programs throughout the year.
Our Mission and Philosophy
Our mission is to provide at-risk Indianapolis youth an opportunity to foster leadership skills, develop problem solving methods, and survival tactics through a variety of programming and opportunities in the community in order to create leaders of tomorrow.
Our philosophy is to help create a new mindset where young people learn that, despite their challenges and disappointments, they should "Do Something Positive - Be Someone Positive - Have Something Positive."
Florian was born around 250 AD and was a Roman soldier, who organized firefighting brigades. When asked why he would not persecute the Christians as he was ordered, Florian revealed he was a Christian who was willing to stand firm in his belief. When soldiers were ordered to kill Florian by fire, Florian smiled and said “if you burn me, I will climb to heaven in flames.” Because of his stance and resistance to death by fire, Saint Florian became the patron saint of firefighters. The Saint Florian Cross, pictured to the left, is commonly used by fire departments to this day.
About Our Leader:
Executive Director / IFD Battalion Chief
Anthony Williamson, or Firefighter Tony, went to Ball State University and graduated in 1982 with a degree in education. During his collegiate career, Williamson was on the football team and was a member of the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity and Black Student Union.
Tony Williamson started as the program director of the Saint Florian Center in 1992 and became the Executive Director in 1997. He has been running this non-profit for nearly 28 years. Most year-round finances to run this organization come directly out of pocket.
His full-time job was as a Battalion Chief on the Indianapolis Fire Department for 37 years. He retired in February 2023 but has dedicated himself to saving and helping others. Chief Williamson is an active officer at Phillips Temple CME Church several local organizations, and is a member of the International Association of Black Professional Firefighters.
Williamson's vision for the Saint Florian Center is to help all at-risk children and to assure they can have a bright and successful future. Summer Camp is especially meaningful to him. He reminds the children daily that the camp is full of love and respect not only for one another but for themselves as well. Williamson stresses to our campers that they are young leaders, who can make a difference in themselves, the future, and the world.
Contact Tony at AWilliamson@saintfloriancenter.org.