Children become Super
Servants at summer camp
(Click on one of the photos below to see a slide show from the camp)
For release: June 19, 2008
More than 100 children from all types of neighborhoods across Shreveport and Bossier City turned into Super Servants this summer at a camp hosted by Grace Community United Methodist Church in partnership with Community Renewal International.
Boys and girls from Community Renewal Friendship Houses joined children from Grace Community for the camp, quickly bonding as one team with no concern for race, age, economic status or any other factors. Children wore bright blue camp shirts and by the end of the week they were signing those shirts as souvenirs of their time together.
Activities included arts, crafts, music, computer lessons and more at the church, as well as service projects that included planting a vegetable garden in Shreveport's Queensborough neighborhood and cleaning the grounds at the Highland Friendship House. On the last day of the camp the children visited a blueberry farm and picked their own blueberries to take home.
"I made new friends and learned about God and learned about helping others. I learned we are all really the same. We can make a good community when we work together," said Queiarrah Brown, 11.
Lameka Brooks, 10, enjoyed working in the garden.
"I liked when we did the garden and put in eggshells and leaves and grass clippings," she said. "I learned that you can put different things in a garden other than seeds. I learned we are fearfully and wonderfully made."
Tyshun Martin, 10, said he enjoyed making new friends and learning that children from other neighborhoods share the same interests he has.
"I liked learning about teamwork. It helps you finish things that would take a long time with one person," he said.
Kristy Sumlin, director of children's ministries at Grace Community, said the camp is one of the highlights of her year. She and community coordinator Jewel Mariner, who works with children at an Allendale neighborhood Friendship House, started the camp six years ago after Sumlin took a Community Renewal tour.
"This is set up for the kids to get to know each other and build community. And then we do service projects - not service for one another, but service with one another. We are trying to plant seeds in the children so that it becomes a natural, lifelong part of who they are to get involved and help their fellow man," she said.
"We want the children to learn how to do for others and how that can bring them joy. We want them to know that what they do matters and get a fuller understanding what it means to serve others. We want them to see that the smallest things they do can really make a difference. If we can teach them that as young children, when they grow up it will just be part of who they are."
Community Renewal International is a nonprofit effort to restore safe and healthy communities through caring relationships. Founded in 1994, Community Renewal reaches at-risk youth through Friendship Houses built in impoverished neighborhoods, strengthens education through the Adult Renewal Academy, partners with The Fuller Center for Housing and connects caring partners who turn their neighborhoods into safe havens of friendship and support.
Contact: David Westerfield, director of communications