One of our area's summer camps works to empower young people in Upshur County.
Appalachian Impact is a new community group focused on building hope in at risk children. It wants to empower youth to work together to develop community goals and gain job skills. It kicked off its arts development and literacy camps on Monday.
"We're focusing on service not only the service the kids can provide that others provide to the community. We're trying to get involved with taking the kids to places where they can help affect others positively," said Will Squires, counselor.
Between eight to 10 students are led by youth counselors in order to set goals personally, as a group, and for the community as a whole. One way of getting the students involved and interested in the group was to focus on literacy and arts development. Counselors said it keeps the students minds focused on learning during the summer break from school.
"You know they forget the skills they've done coming out of school and so its that refresher, brain teaser to keep them involved," Squires said.
Students said they enjoy making new friends and continuing to learn.
"I do a lot of drawing and someday when I go up, I want to be an artist, and I like being here because my mom told me there would be a lot of kids here that I can make friends with, and I like making new friends," said Keyton Lanier.
"So I can read better," said Angel Reeves. "I like being here because its really fun and your get to draw," said Josie Fealy.
Counselors said they want the camp to support youth of the community across the board, but also challenge them to be active for their community.
"Kind of make that infectious attitude about doing new things and being excited about new things and carrying that with them wherever they go, wether its school in the following year and throughout the rest of the summer with other kids they happen to meet," Squires said.
The camp has 15 students signed and can hold up to 30 students. The camp wraps up on August 1 with an open house for the community to see what the students have accomplished.