Pike Co. day camp deemed success

Published 8:56 pm Friday, July 23, 2010

The Pike County Schools Summer Day Camp Program hosted Family Day Friday afternoon, July 23 at Pike County Elementary School in Brundidge.

Throughout the summer the camp has averaged 60 students, first through sixth grade, each day and many of those students performed on stage Friday much to the delight of their parents and grandparents.

The summer day camp was initiated by the City of Brundidge as a means of providing a structured summer program for students.

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“East Central Mental Health came in as a partner to run the program year round,” said Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage.

“The Pike County Board of Education came in recently as a partner by allowing us to move from Galloway Park to a building on the elementary campus.”

Ramage said the city matches funds that are available from a grant that was awarded to East Central Mental Health and the Pike County School System provides the building as an in-kind service.

“The city’s partnership with East Central Mental Health and the Pike County School System allows everyone to win, especially the students,” Ramage said. “Carol Booker and Don Schofield were great in taking the idea we had and expanding it into something unique.

“The Pike County School Board saw this program as filling a need and jumped in by allowing us use of the building so that we could eliminate some of the transportation issues we had in getting students from school to Galloway Park Center. In the summer, we assist the school’s lunch program by having students on campus. This is a great program and the students and parents are getting a real bargain from the resources of the city, ECMH and the Pike County Schools.”

Carol Booker, ECMH clinical director, agreed that the Pike County Summer Day Camp program has been very successful.

“The camp provides supervised, structured activities for the students and uses specific tools to improve their communication skills, their decision-making skills and their self-confidence,” Booker said. “By attending the camp, these students have something beneficial to do during the summer.”

The campers have opportunities to go on weekly field trips to places including the Pioneer Museum of Alabama, the Colley Senior Complex, the Fort Rucker Aviation Museum and the Troy Recreation Park.

Jillianne Crescenzi, camp director, said the goal of the camp is to provide an outlet for students during summer vacation.

“We’re trying to make this more of a camp than a program,” Crescenzi said.

“I would like for the camp to be more structured but the students benefit from the camp in many ways. We provide them with a safe environment, planned activities and opportunities to do things they might not get to do otherwise or go places they might not get to go.”

Four student aides, Kendrick Jackson, Chris Griffin, Chaeney Lawrence and Shayla Terry, work closely with Crescenzi and the students to make their day at camp a fun, learning experience..

“Not only do the students have a variety of activities planned for them they also have opportunities to interact with other students,” Crescenzi said. “The camp is a lot of fun and it provides learning and enrichment opportunities for the students at Pike County Elementary School.”