Kids On The Move summer camp celebrates success

Published 11:45 pm Friday, May 25, 2012



LAPLACE – Heading into its ninth year of offering children in St. John the Baptist Parish an opportunity to stay productive while out of school, the Kids On The Move summer camp at New Wine Christian Fellowship in LaPlace celebrated some of its successes with parish officials and business leaders at a luncheon Wednesday.

New Wine Pastor Neil Bernard said the camp is open to all residents, but it specifically focuses on children from single parent homes or families with one parent incarcerated. He said the camp is an effort to keep these children from falling through the cracks.

“Children, especially boys, who grow up with one parent absent are more likely to end up in jail themselves,” Bernard said. “Sometimes you aren’t dealt the best hand, and this camp and its counselors do everything possible to help these kids through.”

Camp Director Karina Portillo, who has been with Kids On The Move since its inception, said the summer camp has been successful in its efforts to not only keep children occupied but also keep them focused on school work during the summer.

“We often hear from parents and teachers that some of the participants have shown more of a determination in the classroom,” Portillo said. “We have an excited and active staff of counselors who do a lot to encourage and inspire these children.”

Portillo said the camp attracted 220 participants last year and added she expects that number to be surpassed this year. She said registration opened this week and continues this weekend with an event Saturday at the church.

“We expanded this year to add 13-year-olds,” she said. “We are now also offering breakfast and lunch on site.”

Bernard said of the 220 enrolled in the camp last year, more than half were able to participate with the help of a sponsorship from the community. He said participants must come from a single parent home and pass specific income guidelines.

“There are a lot of children in this community who are fatherless or have a parent behind bars,” Bernard said. “We need to remember that although parents sometimes make bad choices, it does not stop these children from being who they want to be.  

The 8-week camp opens June 4 and runs until July 27. Activities include field trips, swimming events and some tutoring with the help of teachers from the parish school district. A registration event will be held today at the church from 10 a.m. to noon. For more information call the church office at 985-653-0008.