The Union Recorder

Local News

April 3, 2010

Camp brings cultural awareness to local students

MILLEDGEVILLE — Students in the local High Achievers Program kept busy this week by discovering various cultures from around the world during spring break camp at the Early Learning Center.

The 63 six- to nine year-old campers learned the lifestyles and languages of Japan, Italy, the Philippines and Australia before giving a global presentation to their families Friday.

“We tried to focus on different cultures to give them more global awareness,” High Achievers Program Coordinator Sequena Moon said. “They ate rice with chopsticks on Monday when they learned about Japan and had pizza on Tuesday for Italy and fish and chips for Australia.”

Sherkeyla Reaves, mother of 9-year-old Makayla Pauldo, said she is impressed with the High Achievers personnel for being professional and welcoming. Reaves said the week-long camp has allowed her daughter to be exposed to learning materials and activities that may not otherwise be available during school.

“I think this program is great. It has helped her with her shyness, speaking skills, interpersonal skills and artistic ability because [the camp] allowed her to express herself through the different materials they provided,” Reaves said. “They allowed her to do things that she is not exposed to like different cultures and to learn different things about the cultures.”

Of the 22 Baldwin High School High Achievers camp leaders, 10th-grader Damien Dennis said he

canceled his vacation plans in order to dedicate his time and knowledge to the campers, but in the end, he gained a lot from the experience.

“When I started, I thought I would mess something up, but I ended up connecting with everyone,” he said. “I learned about leadership and I really enjoyed teaching the kids. It’s been a great spring break.”

The group held a similar three-day camp during spring break last year with 19 elementary students. High Achievers camp leader Kierra Spikes said she decided to participate again in this year’s camp once she noticed the impression she left on the kids.

“Last year I had so much fun. I connected with all of the students,” the 11th-grader said. “I didn’t think I made a big impact on them, but they’ll come up to me and tell me all the things they learned from me, so I decided to teach them again this year.”

Each child was given a certificate of participation and a camp T-shirt. High Achievers special projects leader Cordell Walker said the camp experience is a valuable one for the High Achievers and campers.

“I want the students to come away with a sense of accomplishment,” he said. “To see them each day and what they learned is an eye-opener.”

Moon thanked all of the sponsors for helping to make the camp possible: the Department of Human Services, The Brick, Ruby Tuesday, Applebee’s, the City of Milledgeville, James Fish and Chicken, Hattaway Screen Printing, Baldwin County Board of Education, Georgia College & State University Leadership Resource Team and Georgia College Academic Outreach.

“I had help from school principals. I sent out invitations, flyers and letters. I presented information to others as well as to the Georgia College communications department. They helped us get the word out,” Moon said.

The High Achievers Program aims to help young people become well-rounded leaders within the community and prepare them to live in global society.

“The program betters a person’s attitude and it teaches you to take charge of a situation while interacting with different personalities,” High Achievers freshman Brisha Renfroe said. “It has really benefited me because it helped me become a better person.”

The High Achievers Program is funded by the Georgia Department of Human Services and is a partnership between Georgia College, 21st Century Community Learning Centers, YES Program, Baldwin County Schools, Baldwin County Parks and Recreation Department and the Milledgeville community.

Moon said plans for a summer camp are under way and she encourages parents to register their children to take advantage of the educational experience.

“I hope we can continue to have more students and for this to become a yearly thing because something as positive as this needs to be a recurring event,” Walker said.

For more information about the High Achievers Program or their upcoming summer camp, contact Moon at (478) 804-3778 or Community Organizer Kenneth Daniels at (478) 804-3779.

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