by Lisa Tome
You don't just play ball at Camp Activate, you must also practice math skills if you make a good catch.
The free camp, held for children who attend Title I (large percentage of students qualifying for free/reduced meals) schools, provides meals, education and fun four days a week for five weeks.
Sarah Creek, a teacher with Cecil County Public Schools, is site supervisor at Thomson Estates Elementary, explained that the children who attend are ages 8-11. There is another branch of the camp at North East Elementary.
Children arrive at the camp each day and have breakfast which is provided by the school system's summer feeding program. Throughout the day they have games and team building, sports, science, lunch, free play, and more. Students at the camp are from Gilpin Manor, Holly Hall, Cecil Manor, Thomson Estates, and Chesapeake City elementary schools. "This is a safe and fun place for them to be with a variety of activities to keep them active and learning," said Creek. The school system provides bus transportation.
"I like to come here and watch and play games. We get to play our favorite games," said camper Alondra Bernal.
Bailey Pressler is a volunteer at Camp Activate. She is a Bo Manor High student who is earning service hours by helping. "I like it. It's a lot of fun. The kids here don't have the best situations at home," said Pressler. "This brightens my day. Some come here and they aren't real alert. They get happier as the day goes on."
Jhadiel Lopez, 10, likes camp. "It's a really fun camp and gets you learning stuff. At home I'd be in the a/c bored out of my mind. I make friends here, have fun, and play stuff," said Lopez.
Jerilyn Jones oversees the camp for YES (Youth Empowerment Source). Jones said that 154 children are enrolled in camp this year. Daily average attendance is 94.
Anyone who wants to help offset the cost of camp may donate online at the Youth Empowerment Source website.