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Paradise at Parkside 2018 Summer Camp Review

This summer the camper’s at the annual Summer Camp participated in the activities ranging from skateboarding to making abstract art. Over the four weeks of camp, our youth played countless games of dodgeball, strung thousands of beads for friendship bracelets, and made their fair share of messes. The youth started each day with breakfast. They were greeted at the door by counselors and volunteers whose goal was to give our kids the best summer possible. The team of counselors leading the youth through the day’s program included multiple dedicated residents of Paradise and mothers in the community whose leadership and love helped our youth know they are supported in their homes and on our courtyards- this summer and beyond. Twice a week campers made the short hike over to Kenilworth Recreation Center for either time in the pool or

time on the basketball court. Camper’s practiced both their handstands and cannonballs and ate a picnic lunch before heading back to the Learning Center for a quick craft activity. Other field trips throughout camp included the Kenilworth Aquatic Garden, the Dorothy Heights Library, the National Zoo, the Anacostia Skate Park, the Museum of the American Indian, and the U.S. Botanical Gardens. Carrots DC, a local creative organization with a storefront on Minnesota Avenue, provided a full week of arts-based classes. Campers personalized apparel and experimented with painting in many mediums. Carrots DC was able to provide these lessons after being awarded the Ward 7 Start Art Enrichment Program. Many campers started learning the basics of skateboarding in the third week of camp. By the fourth week, these dedicated campers were able to push around and reliably pull off the starter pack of skate tricks. The end of camp celebration started early with music and an extra spark in the kid’s smile. Clusters of the young ladies practiced their step and dance routines. Some campers battled it out in foursquare, while others help set up tables for making homemade lava lamps and face painting. After a special lunch of pizza, cake, ice cream, cookies, juice and chips campers performed their chosen talents for the crowd. The day closed with a performance by team members of local skate group called DC Wheels. Our youth were then given boards and taught new tricks by the volunteer pros.

To close the day and end camp, each camper received a bookbag donated by MPD officer Medina from the 6th District Police Department. Both our skateboarding and arts programs will continue over from this summer into the afterschool programming. If you are interested in enrolling your youth in either program I encourage you to pick up an enrollment form now from the Community Center. Note from the author: We are also looking to collect the memories of those in the community who went to Camp Paradise as a child! If you are interested in contributing your memories, you can contact me at: asutton@telesiscorp.com. We hope to hear from you soon.  

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