Camp gets youth off streets
Published 8:38 pm Wednesday, July 8, 2015
A free summer camp at the Salvation Army gymnasium on Bank Street is taking kids off the streets and teaching them skills for life, according to its organizers.
Developed for ages 4 to 17, the camp is being run by CHOICE, an acronym for Children Helping Other Individuals See Elevation. It focuses on spiritual guidance, physical education and fun, CHOICE’s Antwan Robinson said.
The camp runs 2-6 p.m. Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays, until school is back in session.
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“Last time, it went marvelous,” Robinson said of the inaugural camp last year. “The children were very good, they were well-mannered, they had respect. They were looking forward to us doing this again.”
Last year there were almost 90 children, Robinson said, and during sign-up Wednesday, it was clear that number would be rivaled this year, perhaps even toppled.
One man signed up seven children at once.
New to the camp this year are music sessions, Robinson said. The emphasis is on spiritual teaching and bringing children closer to God, he added.
The Salvation Army’s Lt. Johnny Anthony, new to Suffolk, said the summer camp helps his organization fulfill its mission in the community.
“The Salvation Army has been deep in the community helping kids already, so when he came to us asking to use the building for the summer program, we got on board,” Anthony said, referring to Robinson.
“We are about getting kids off the street and making sure they have something productive to do. If they are off the street and doing something productive, they are not doing destructive things. It was a no-brainer.”
Anthony said the Salvation Army would be able to use the connections it makes during the summer camp for its future programs.
Meanwhile, Anthony added that the Salvation Army is hosting an all-day Bible school Aug. 17-23.
Robinson participated in last year’s Bible school, Anthony said, which had at least 136 children participate.
“He has a great program, and I think it will benefit all of us,” Anthony said of the summer camp.”
Robinson said his main idea was always to get the youth off the streets during the long summer break.
He wants to help them better themselves, he said, and teach them that their surroundings don’t define who they are.
Transportation is not provided for the summer camp. Parents and guardians are asked to sign up for each day they bring their children, and are required to return to for them at the end of the day’s program.