Power-ful Camp

Published 12:00 am Friday, June 13, 2008

Addison Linthicum, 7, of Ironton, sat excitedly and watched as volunteers drew the names of kids and then awarded basketballs and sweatshirts and insulated cups— one little extra reward for a day of play.

“This is really fun,” Addison said. “I came down here last year and I loved it and I want to come until I can’t come anymore.”

The “this” the young lady referred to was the Youth Empowerment Activities at the Ninth Street playground Thursday. Sponsored by the Family Guidance Center, Lawrence County Juvenile Court and the Appalachian Family and Children First Council, the YEA day camp this summer gives kids a chance to be kids.

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“This provides a safe environment for kids to participate in some fun activities, something fun to do in the summertime,” explained juvenile court representative Joyce Lynd.

While the kids may be focused on the fun— this week, the day camp offered basketball games— the adult volunteers emphasize the kids are also getting a lesson in the power of positive behavior and good sportsmanship. In between those basketball games Thursday, youth volunteer Julie Spry led the younger kids in a cheer. Kids who maybe needed a little help remembering those rules of good behavior had to apologize for their misdeeds. And there were role models around to set the right example. Grace Seward will be a freshman this fall at Ringling School of Art Design in Sarasota, Fla., She is a youth mentor to a group of 18 younger kids this summer. She used to come to the after-school program Family Guidance Center and Operation Be Proud offered when she was in grade school and loved the reading programs and other activities. Now, she’s spending her summer giving other youngsters the healthy time and attention she once got.

“I like working with kids and I like giving them the same experiences I had when I was their age,” she said. And she was a bit philosophical. “I think we get back from them more than they get from us. It makes me feel good to know I’ve helped someone else.”

Lynd said approximately 15 high-school or college-aged young adults will be paid to work as youth mentors this summer. They will not only take away some fond memories of helping younger kids learn to dribble a basketball or throw a baseball, they will also take away some work experience and a bit of money for it.

A number of adults will serve as YEA volunteers.


Seward, 7, is Grace Seward’s cousin and another fan of YEA’s summer camp. Why?

“It’s fun, it’s exciting,” she said.

That was the same sentiment expressed by 11-year-old Katie Virgin.

“I like how you get to play outside and then they’re taking us to the Ohio Horse Park,” she said. “I can’t wait.”