Inner City Summer Camp

Today was an interesting experience. I spent some time working at a day camp put on by a local church. My time was volunteered and I took some snapshots of the day’s events. I am amazed at how enthusiastic we are as children, how much energy we had, and the constant need to be doing things. All the kids are from the inner city and soak a lot of things up like sponges. They also work hard to please the adults around them, and the smallest things make them happy: sidewalk chalk, a cheap beach ball, plastic baseball bats and wiffle ball. There was no playground – just an empty lot – and all of them were very content to play in it during their break.

One thing that impresses me about this particular church is that they are very upbeat. Signs and slogans and posters are all over the place. “You can’t win the race unless you start the race”, “You are someone who is special”, and various pledges to oneself to become better and accomplish things in their life. There are “ladders to success” and other things promoting to individuals that if they work to become something, they will.

One thing that stuck out was seeing someone who was constantly in trouble with the camp counselors — but this person wasn’t a bad person. He was very intelligent and strong willed. Even in this nurturing environment, he always found ways to cause a stir. I wonder what his life may be like. What is it like in his home when he goes there? Is the home nurturing? He has chips on his shoulders, and frequently acts out just because he knows he can get away with it. I also wonder what kind of things that society and people he knows have instilled into him? I look at this guy, and I see so much potential and what he can be. Instead, he wants to spend it being mad at the world and taking it out on the people around him. It hurt to see someone like him in the group – and I wish that there was more I can do.

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