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Camp Appalachia to offer summer enrichment programs to South Charleston youth

By Clint Thomas, Metro Reporter

Various South Charleston agencies are pooling their resources to sponsor Camp Appalachia for at-risk youth in the city this summer.

Cheryl Laws, founder and CEO of the nonprofit social services entity Pollen8, said Camp Appalachia willl be conducted from June 5 to July 28. The camp is an interorganizational collaboration of Pollen8, the City of South Charleston, the South Charleston Housing Authority, Rock Lake Presbyterian Church, St. Paul United Methodist Church, Richmond Elementary School, Bridgeview Elementary School and Kanawha Communities that Care.

“Representatives have come together to develop the camp,” Laws said. “We’ve met biweekly, created a curriculum out of that and are bringing together our resources. Everyone has a stake in it.”

Laws said the camp will be open to up to 60 children who attend Bridgeview or Richmond elementaries and live in either the Southmoor Hills Apartments or at the Parkland Terrace residential properties operated by the South Charleston Housing Authority.

“It’s starting out as a summer camp at the parish house of St. Paul United Methodist. Then, the same kids will roll over to an afterschool program at the Rock Lake Community Center,” Laws said.

At the camp, Laws said, “we will try to show them all that school has to offer if you get fully involved and show up. They’ll get to experience extracurricular activities. The city is hosting a sports camp. They’ll get to use dance, theater, music and art. They’ll learn behavior modification, so they can function better the next school year, and mindful meditation, to control their emotions while also identifying community resources that are available to them.”

Campers will receive an hour of tutoring each day, in partnership with Richmond and Bridgeview elementary schools. “It’s kind of a reset to start the next school year,” Laws said.

The youngsters will also cultivate and tend community gardens at Southmoor Hills and Parkland Terrace, with their harvests available for their families and themselves.

Daily hours for the eight-week Camp Appalachia will be from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. weekdays. Campers will receive a well-balanced meal before departure and learn how to prepare age-appropriate meals they can take home for weekend consumption.

The afterschool program will start on Aug. 14 and continue throughout the 2017-18 school year. It will include components for parents, such as information on gaining employment or better employment opportunities or obtaining their GED.

The afterschool program will be offered weekdays from school dismissal to 6 p.m., with transportation provided.

Pollen8 serves as an umbrella for social programs that assist drug-impacted families throughout every stage of treatment. For further information regarding Camp Appalachia, go to and continue to the “Social Programs” link. You can also reach Laws for more details about the camp and other Pollen8 services at or 304-389-0803.


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