For the second year, Belmont University and Kayne Avenue Missionary Baptist Church have partnered for a six-week academic enrichment summer camp sponsored by the University’s Office of Community Relations and Fifth Third Bank to benefit students of all ages living in the Edgehill neighborhood.
Next Generation Now Summer Enrichment Program began June 4 and its counselors work to improve academic achievement, community safety and nutritional health by supporting working families with the day camp. Nearly 30 youth have enrolled this summer.
“This is another way for us [the church] to reach kids in the community and get them out of the house and into church,” said Tim Hayes, Kayne’s youth minister and a student at American Baptist College. The camp has been a beneficial partnership for the community because it takes place in an area where many kids do not have access to summer programs because of costs and transportation, he said.
Last summer, Belmont’s Department of Education designed the curriculum for children ages six to 12 to make the camp academic in nature while emphasizing literacy and self-confidence. This year the camp has expanded to include students up to age 17. Belmont University has contracted Dr. Rene Rochester, with Urban S.E.T., to give free ACT preparation workshops and college counseling to the high school students in exchange for their service as junior counselors. She has coordinated with the University library for use of its language materials.
With each week focusing on a different subject of academia, campers participate in science experiments, health and fitness exercises, art projects, history and culture activities. They also take weekly walks to the Edgehill library and plan to climb the rock wall in the Beaman Fitness Center as well as visit the Frist Center for the Visual Arts, Adventure Science Center and The Hermitage.
Belmont senior Gabrielle Hampton previously worked as a counselor and this year is directing the camp. She said, “I have taken what I have learned over the years and turned it into a curriculum that will work for [the students]. It is amazing how much they retain. I have a kid who came up to me at the beginning of camp and told me how his teacher talked about some things he learned in camp last summer.”