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GHC to host summer camp for at-risk boys

By LaTonya Burrell
Assistant Writer

Along with summer session classes for college students, Georgia Highlands College will offer a summer camp for boys in the Floyd County area.

Foundation Camp 2008 is a two-week program for boys between the ages of 11 and 14.

For the past two years Dr. Jon Hershey, professor of English, David Mathis, intramurals director, and Greg Shropshire, former GHC student and president of 100 Black Men of Rome have structured a day camp where children can have fun and be safe while learning valuable experiences on a college campus.

Although any boy that falls into the age group can join the camp, Foundation Camp 2008 is geared toward boys who come from underprivileged families, are "at risk" for any reason or are in need of a male mentor. "I want the children to have a positive experience on a college campus. I want them to have a different perspective on academics because of the courses we offer," said Hershey.

The primary traits that the day camp wants to promote are teamwork, self-respect and confidence.

The array of activities from last year to this are changing and expanding. "Last year we had tennis, golf, canoeing and karate. As far as academics, we had a physics and biology lab. We even had a course on rap lyrics," said Hershey.

"This year we would like to include some activities that the students have little to no experience with. We want to continue with more math and science courses," said Hershey.

Mathis agrees, saying, "The goal is to get the students excited about learning. Let them know that college is an opportunity for them."

Foundation Camp is a continuation of a federally funded program NYSP (National Youth Sports Program) that took place at GHC for many years. NYSP, funded by the department of Health and Human Services, eventually lost funding, leaving at risk children with nothing to do over the summer. Unlike NYSP, Foundation Camp is funded with only private donations.

Male camp counselors are needed for Foundation Camp 2008. "We would like for the camp counselors to be in college. We want the students to have a chance to see that they could be in the camp counselor's shoes one day," said Mathis.

Anyone who has questions or wants to apply for a counselor position may contact Hershey at (706) 368-7629 or Mathis at (706) 204-8308.