New summer enrichment camp builds dreams

  • A friendly game of kickball was one of the activities children enjoyed at the fun day on July 27 at Lemon Park in Barnwell.

Many dreams were built this summer during a new camp.

Southeastern Housing and Community Development and S.C. Regional Housing Authority #3 hosted a summer enrichment camp for children ages 3-18 in the community. The free camp was held at sites in Barnwell, Bamberg and Williston with a theme of “Building Dreams”.

“We wanted kids to start dreaming again. We want them to be more than what society considers them as,” said Shandalyn Isaac of encouraging campers to reach their goals. Isaac works for the housing authority and worked with Penny Boyles from Southeastern Housing Foundation to oversee the camp.

This was the first year for the camp, which was held every Monday through Friday since June. Camp included hands-on activities, recreational games and field trips, including to the YMCA and Six Flags. Lunch was provided daily through the summer feeding program operated by local schools.

“We are trying to keep kids active and involved in something positive,” said Boyles.

Approximately 64 children attended the Williston camp while 62 went to Barnwell and more than 30 attended the Bamberg site. Boyles said they had several college students and older teens volunteer to help.

Parents have been very supportive of the camp and many have volunteered in various aspects this summer.

“This camp kept a lot of kids from being on the streets and out early in the morning. It is all about the kids and leading them the right way,” said Terri Draper, who volunteered with the Williston camp and led a classroom. One daughter also volunteered while another attended camp.

The camp not only gave children something positive and fun to do this summer, but they also learned new skills and knowledge.

Parent Yvette McCray said she and other parents have seen the difference the camp made in the lives of their children, particularly with the educational aspects. She and two of her daughters volunteered while her other daughter attended the Barnwell camp.

“I enjoyed seeing the children grow from beginning to end,” said Brianna Brown, a parent and volunteer teacher at the Williston camp. Not only did the children learn math and science, but also important life lessons, morals and values, she said.

Boyles said the camp was also beneficial to parents because some would not have been able to work without having a place for their children to go.

Courtney Ferguson of Williston said the camp allowed her to get some sleep after working the night shift while also giving her son a fun and educational experience. She said he especially enjoyed the crafts and songs. Ferguson also volunteered.

Before camp concluded on Friday, July 28, campers from all three sites joined together for a fun day at Lemon Park in Barnwell on July 27. The different sites competed against each other in kickball and flag football.

“I told my kids sportsmanship is more important than winning,” said Boyles.

The day also included water fun, other activities and hot dogs. The Barnwell High School cheerleaders volunteered their time at the face painting tent while cheerleaders from Williston-Elko High handed out snow cones and popcorn.

Isaac thanks the Save the Children program, Foster Grandparents, First Steps, and the schools for their help this summer.

Organizers said they are planning to “come back bigger and better next year.”