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Happy campers

By Staff reports

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- As summer draws to a close and kids go back to school, most summer camps in the region have closed up shop until next year. Children at several of those camps benefited from The Charleston Gazette's Send-A-Child-To-Camp Fund. Donors to the annual fund contributed nearly $35,000, and all of that money helped to send kids to camp (the Gazette covers all administrative costs of the fund).

CARNEGIE KIDS' COLLEGE

Carnegie Kids' College ran from July 9 to 20 at Carnegie Hall in Lewisburg. The 174 children who participated, ranging in age from kindergarten to seventh grade, had their choice of classes in weaving, pottery, dance, archaeology, piñata-making and tie-dye, to name a few. One of the favorite courses of the camp was Kids in the Kitchen. "That's always one of our most popular classes because they eat what they make," said Leah Trent, education director.

REGIONAL TEEN INSTITUTE

Regional Teen Institute, held at Rippling Waters Church of God Camp, brought in 62 middle school students and a youth staff of 25 high school students from June 12 to 15. Campers had workshops on tobacco prevention, teen pregnancy prevention, bullying prevention and leadership, said Margo Friend, adolescent health initiative director

AFRICAN AMERICAN ARTS AND HERITAGE ACADEMY The African American Arts and Heritage Academy met from July 9 to 14 at the Creative Arts Center on West Virginia University's campus in Morgantown. The 37 students, ages 13 to 18, did activities in visual arts, dancing and music- including vocal, instrumental, strings, steel drums and songwriting. At the end of the week, the campers put on a performance. "The showcase was just unbelievable," said camp president Norman Jordan.

CAMP HORSESHOE

About 200 children, ages 7 to 12, attended Camp Horseshoe for a week this summer. Programs ran from July 1 to 28, and campers did archery, crafts, creek exploring, fossil hunting, and had a first aid class. At night, they had campfires, a carnival or group games. Each week, campers got a visit from West Virginia University dental students, who taught them about good dental hygiene and going to the dentist. "They had a blast," said Lois Nelson, the camp's executive director.

CREATIVE CAPERS

Creative Capers for Kids had 45 first- through eighth-graders attend camp from June 4 to 8. They participated in activities including making and launching their own rockets, writing acrostic poetry, learning newsletter reporting and photography, designing jewelry and making sushi. On the final day of camp, the students put on a showcase to let their family and friends see what they'd learned during the week, assistant director Amy Weintraub said. 

KANAWHA COUNTY 4-H

Kanawha County 4-H Camp hosted two weeks of camp. The first, starting June 4, had 55 students ages 13 and up. The week was themed after the Olympics, and campers played water balloon volleyball, threw javelins using pool noodles and built cardboard bobsled. The next week, 102 younger campers, ages 9 to 13, also participated in Olympics activities. One of the primary focuses of the camp is teaching children life skills, and the campers get opportunities to take on leadership roles during the week. "We do try to teach children how to take care of each other," said Sherry Swint, West Virginia University 4-H Extension agent.

LOAVES AND FISHES CAMP

Loaves and Fishes Camp, held at the 4-H camp in Summers County, had 73 campers, ages 6 to 11 from June 25 to 29. The camp was staffed by 51 students, most of whom were from Loyola Academy in Chicago. During the week, the campers rode rafts down the Greenbrier River and did archery and arts and crafts. In the evenings, the camp brought in entertainers, including a folk singer and a comedian. One night, campers got a visit from kittens and puppies from the Summers County Humane Society, said Carol Bailey, bookkeeper for Catholic Charities West Virginia. 

TRI-COUNTY YMCA

Tri-County YMCA Camp High Tor started June 4 and ended Friday. More than 300 children participated in the camp, with about half coming for more than one week, said Angel Anderson, camp director. Each week has a theme; for example, the week of July 31 was the Summer Olympics, and the children did some traditional sports, but they also played three-legged kickball. Another week was called "What a Mess," and the camp had its annual food fight, with children creating armor and shields out of cardboard. Every day of camp began with a devotion or reflection, and some of the camp's leaders-in-training did community service projects during the summer. 

YWCA CHILD ENRICHMENT CENTER

YWCA Child Enrichment Center Summer Camp began the Monday after Kanawha County schools closed and ran through the entire summer. The camp enrolled 30 elementary school children this year, and they attended free-movie Wednesdays at Park Place Stadium Cinema and had swim days on Fridays at the Martin Luther King Jr. Community Center. The campers also took field trips to the Clay Center, Heritage Farm, area parks and Blennerhassett Island. Each week had a theme, and there was reading to correspond with that week's theme, assistant director Heather Snyder said.

ACADEMIC TUNE-UP Academic Tune-Up camp began June 11 and ran through Aug. 10 at the Appalachian Reading Center. There were 57 campers, ages 5 to 17, participating this year. During the summer, students worked on groups and one-on-one with instructors to improve their literacy skills. The camp featured use of the Wilson Reading System and Handwriting Without Tears and games and songs designed to help students improve in reading, spelling and writing, said camp co-director Jennifer Carriger.


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