By Corey Poole
Since its inception the City’s Summer Day Camp has grown each year.
- 2014- 4 staff, 48 youth participants, 4 weeks long
- 2015- 8 staff, 121 youth participants, 8 weeks long
- 2016- 12 staff, up to 60 students per session at East Fifth Program and up to 45 students per session at Abbie Drive location, 8 weeks long
A returning camp staff member, DeAndrea Sanders said, “I like camp because the children seem to have so much fun. The environment is also very welcoming for both the children and the staff.”
This year the camp will offer a Teen Internship Program. Applications are due May 17 by 4 p.m. and should be submitted to Dallas Russell: Community Programs and Outreach Coordinator, 420 Fourth St., Natchitoches, LA 71457.
A partnership with the Natchitoches Community Alliance, Natchitoches Parish Library and the Louisiana Workforce Commission, teens ages 14-17 can apply for an unpaid internship position. Teens will assist in camp and participate in trainings on Tuesdays at the library. Training topics include: overview of program, policies and procedures, resume writing, interview skills, job retention and applying for college- financial aid and admissions.
For more information or to receive an application call 238-7508 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Another measure of the camps’ growth is the addition of a second location at 732 Abbie Drive. The East Fifth Program begins at Weaver Elementary and moves to East Natchitoches Middle School.
According to Director Tony Davis, the Chamber gave the program a grant to help keep kids active, involved in learning and develop further leadership skills over the summer.
Barbara Leach with the Louisiana Workforce Commission said interns will complete a “My Way, My Life” Assessment on the computer that helps them plan for their future with cars, homes and finances.
New to the program, Terri Marshall has over 16 years of youth and summer programming experience as a YMCA Summer Camp director at Oak Cliff in Dallas, director of Resident Services at the Dallas Housing Authority, Summer Program administrator at Circle of Support, executive director of Boys & Girls Club of Natchitoches and Girls Volleyball and Basketball Coach for Junior High at West Dallas Community School.
Terri is excited about summer camp this year because of the new themes and exciting opportunities to see the children learn, grow and explore.
Returning to work another year at the Summer Camp Program, Briana Craige said, “The summer camp was such a pleasure to be a part of, you truly make an impact on young lives. I came back because I want to continue to be a part of their learning and growth.”
Growing yet again, this summer the camp will partner with the following:
- Cane River Children’s Services: life skills activities
- Natchitoches Parish Library: weekly bookmobile visits to each site
- Natchitoches Parish Office of Community Services: breakfast and lunch
- Natchitoches Housing Authority: use of the building on Abbie Drive
- Natchitoches Parish School Board: use of Weaver and East Natchitoches schools
- International Paper: program funding, science activities and volunteers
Camp participants will go on the following field trips:
- Tall Tales, a walking tour in the historic district with the APHN’s Calico Ladies and Bells
- Water Day with the Natchitoches Fire Department
- Movie Theater
- Natchitoches Parish Library
- Fort St. Jean Baptiste
- Carnival Day
- Louisiana Sports Hall of Fame and Northwest Louisiana History Museum
Staff member Angel Greer said, “I really enjoy the positive environment and watching the kids being kids and enjoying summer camp. When I went to summer camp as a child I expected to have a great time and feel comfortable being around the staff which I hope to continue to provide for each child.”
Themes for the Summer Camp sessions include the following:
- Session 1: June 6- June 17- Faces and Places
This session is about people from Louisiana that have made a positive impact. We will be focusing on Sal Khan, Homer Plessy, Louis Armstrong and Peyton Manning
- Session 2: June 20 – July 1- Cultural Connections
This session is about food in Louisiana- the different crops and family traditions with food
- Session 3: July 5- July 15 – Go Green
This session is about the natural environment of Louisiana and taking care of it
- Session 4: July 18- July 29- Wacky and Wonderful Louisiana Festivals
This session is about the different festivals in Louisiana