LUMBERTON — The children who participated in the annual Sandy Grove Baptist Church Summer Youth Academy spent the last day of camp on Thursday rejoicing and celebrating the knowledge they gained.
The camp conducted by the Faith Forecasters Ministry started on June 26 and ran for almost three weeks. Activities at the church on Martin Luther King Jr. Drive focused on improving students’ performance in the academic areas of math, language arts and reading.
“We want to establish relationships with the children on the first day and we also do a pretest so that we can establish where they are academically,” said Pamela Wright, who directed the camp.
Third-grade students were taught by Belva McDowell, fourth-graders were led by Raymond Pearson, and the fifth-graders, referred to as the Fab 5, were taught by both Louise Pearson and Chahtinney Peterson. All students were given a pretest at the beginning of camp and a post-test at the end in order to gauge their improvement.
Parents praised the efforts of all the teachers and staff. Some called the camp a blessing to the community.
“Our kids need to stay connected and it’s important that they don’t lose the skills they gain over the school year,” said Tara Lewis, whose daughter took part in the camp.
The Summer Youth Academy also provided outside experiences for the children.
“We wanted to do some enrichment type things, so each grade level went out to a nursing home, and it’s amazing because that comes back as one of their favorite activities,” Wright said.
Students and staff took a special trip to Chapel Hill on Tuesday. They visited the Morehead Planetarium and the Carolina Basketball Museum.
“We wanted to expose children to things they don’t get in the classroom,” said Abe Marshall, Faith Forecasters member.
Marshall shared how an Academy student told the curator of the museum to remember his name because he would be in that very museum one day.
“Just for a child to see that and now have an ambition and a goal to work towards almost brings tears to my eyes,” Marshall said.
The students ended the closing ceremony with a special Red Nose Day song. Over the course of the camp students brought in donations to go help organizations working to end child poverty.
Students, staff, and parents, while celebrating another successful Summer Youth Academy, are looking for bigger and better things.
“This academy is our baby and we need more support because we would like to expand, but we sure are grateful for the support we do have,” Marshall said.