By WALTER MUNDAY
Community Outreach Supervisor
A few weeks ago, I overheard a conversation between my brother-in-law and son regarding the importance of reading. One of the things I heard him tell my son was “that reading allows anyone, regardless of cultural, economic, and/or social barriers, the opportunity to explore the world through their imagination. It allows anyone to explore places that they’ll never visit, meet people that they’ll never see in person, and consume knowledge and understanding about cultures and history which they’ll otherwise never know.”
The same could be said about the summer camps that took place at our 12 community centers this summer. The theme this year was “A Fantastic Voyage”, and each center had the flexibility in guiding its campers through local and/or world educational voyage.
For instance, Beechmont Community Center’s voyage traveled to South America where campers learned about the language, culture, history, political structure and more of countries like Argentina, Chile, Ecuador, and more. At the conclusion of the camp, campers performed in “A Fantastic Voyage High School Musical,” a performance for friends which highlighted what they’d learned throughout their voyage.
On the other hand, Baxter Community Center’s Voyage was a little closer to home. Their voyage traveled to islands of Hawaii, and provided campers intimate details about the culture, history and natural elements of the land. Campers wrote essays about the different islands, learned about native dances as well as leaned about volcanos. Campers also created maracas as part of their art classes.
Southwick Community Center’s Voyage took advantage of our local history and cultural amenities like for example a trip to the Kentucky Derby Museum. This voyage, led by Ronnie Dreistadt, the Education Curator at the museum, took campers on a historical voyage back to Europe and West Africa focusing on the beginning of Thoroughbred Horse racing. It focused on President’s Washington and Jackson’s role in horse racing as well as the contributions of African Americans to sport of horse racing.
These voyages, in addition to the other programs offered like fitness, arts, and environmental education, highlighted each of our summer campers’ experience. It provided many of them, who unfortunately haven’t even traveled much further than their own neighborhoods, an opportunity to learn what exists outside of their immediate area; outside of our country. It challenges their imagination, and encourages them to dream.
Some of the additional featured activities included: Belle of Louisville Cruise, Youth Health Initiative Program, Reds Rookie Success League, Bike Sense program, trips and so much more.