By Jessica Able, Record Staff Writer
Last Friday, July 26, participants in this year’s Camp Africa Inspire celebrated the close of camp with a family picnic at Waterfront Park in downtown Louisville.
The picnic concluded the seven-week summer enrichment program held at the Catholic Enrichment Center at 3146 West Broadway.
“It’s our family reunion party,” Tianna Barnes-Palmer, coordinator of Camp Africa Inspire, said. “It’s not only for the kids but we also encourage parents to come as well.”
In addition to the core subjects of math, language arts, science and foreign language offered at the camp, there were expanded sessions on art and drama and African American history.
During the last week of the program, participants took part in several programs highlighting writings and dramatic works they had produced during the camp.
Children in second- through ninth-grade hosted a night called “Recreating the Harlem Renaissance: A Reflection of African American History,” where they
discussed the history of African American poets, leaders, writers and musicians.
Sicily Hancock, 8, said she really enjoyed the opportunities she had to write and learn about her African American heritage. “I learned about Harriet Tubman and Martin Luther King, Jr.,” she recalled.
Hancock also said she learned the importance of treating all people the same way.
Campers also presented two plays the closing week: “The Adventures of the Boy Who Would Not Eat His Veggies,” and “The Passion of Christ.”
Barnes-Palmer said the camp’s goal is to provide children with an academic jumpstart for the coming school year.
“It also offers cultural enrichment activities so they are more engaged in the arts and with their heritage,” Barnes-Palmer, a member of St. Martin de Porres Church, added.
As part of the African American history programs, children were able to participate in a tribute to Trayvon Martin, the Florida teenager who was killed in 2012.
“They were able to write their feelings about the outcome of the trial,” Kim Telesford-Mapp, director of the Catholic Enrichment Center, said. “It was a healing experience for them.”
Barnes-Palmer said students carried signs they had painted with messages of peace, played inspirational music, and released black balloons in honor of Martin.
The camp was not only a source of vibrance for the young participants but for the community as well, Barnes-Palmer said.
“I’ve had so many parents come to me and express appreciation that the program offered a safe place” while providing academic enrichment, she said. “It brings a positive experience to the community.”
Janice Tennison, who had two young daughters enrolled in the camp, said she was impressed with the academic offerings and was grateful her children were able to attend.
“There are not a lot of summer programs that are affordable ,so some kids have to stay home all summer,” she said.
Tennison added that the camp staff worked with her on what she was able to pay.
“My kids had a lot of fun and learned a lot, too,” she said at the picnic.