For the past several years, our partners who operate summer day camps throughout Appalachia have been unsure how, or even if, they were going to be able hold their programs for low-income children in distressed, rural Appalachia.
And although they were not able to host their camps as they had traditionally done for years at their centers because of the COVID-19 pandemic, they were determined not to let these children down and disappoint them from attending what is the highlight of their summer.
This year, we are pleased to report that Americans Helping Americans® will be sponsoring 3 summer camps serving 145 children for our partners Big Creek People In Action in War, WV, Cumberland Mountain Outreach in Beattyville, KY and for the first time ever – Corners Creative Kids in Pensacola, FL.
These summer camps will be free of charge and parents can expect their children to be fed, educated, and given a safe place to play and form friendships for the entire duration, which could be a week or even month!
Cumberland Mountain Outreach will host an estimated 60 kids this summer. For one week, no less than 15 children will play, learn, receive meals, and go on trips to the state park and to swim, a luxury they don’t have locally.
BCPIA will host 30 kids for two weeks in June at their facility. There, these children will learn to work together, relate with one another, empathize, get delicious meals, and play during their time at camp. They will also go to the Smokey Mountains; a 4hr drive from War, where they will camp for 2 nights and get to see the Dolly Parton Stampede. They will witness live performances and be able to drive go karts, go mini golfing, and more during their 2-night stay. This is an excellent opportunity for these children as they rarely get to leave their town.
“The funding from Americans Helping Americans® helps us provide food every day, transportation, and for some of the supplies needed for these camps,” explains BCPIA co-executive director Marsha Timpson.
And our new partner – Corners Creative Kids Summer Camp in Florida will teach 55 kids traditional flower bed growing techniques by using technology to track the growth cycle of plants, offer nutritional literacy, improve reading literacy by following directions and recipes, and provide food sustainability with the campers taking home the food that they grow. Just like in many areas Americans Helping Americans serves in Appalachia, 1 in every 6 people in Pensacola live in poverty. By attending this camp, 55 young Floridians will be equipped with self-sustaining skills in gardening and be engrained with health and nutritional lessons they can take with them.
Without these camps, these children would spend most, if not all, of their summer vacations isolated and hungry without the meals they receive when school is in session.