RISE Camp brought 33 of our 44 new RISE students to Paradise Farm Camps in West Chester, PA, from July 20-25th. These rising 7th and 8th graders have been trying out for the RISE program since January, and after enduring personal interviews in June, these students were invited to join the two-year RISE program which would kick-off at camp.
When the children arrived they were assigned to their cabin and Cabin Counselors and then participated in an all-camp game to get to know each other even better. After dinner and some cabin pictures, the group enjoyed their first camp fire together. Each cabin consisted of 4-5 kids and one Chaperone.
Every morning the kids could choose one of several different Rise and Shine activities such as morning devotion, a walk through the woods, a calisthenic exercise program or a more
strenuous full-body workout. Then they immediately moved onto breakfast and then a short period of personal time.
On Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday mornings the kids chose one of six different vocational electives. Several local companies and private entrepreneurs volunteered their mornings to expose the kids to a specific trade or industry. Partners included: The Master’s Baker (cupcake decoration), Bulldog Rod & Custom (classic car restoration), Pulse Beauty Academy (cosmetology), Gina Farrell (dance and choreography), Bob Baumann (photography) and Arielle Kone (fabric design). The kids really loved this part of camp as they got to learn new skills and better understand some career opportunities. These “work” mornings were always followed by lunch at camp.
Thursday morning was different. The entire RISE group went on a field trip to Brandywine Outfitters where we were put in canoes and got the chance to canoe up the gorgeous Brandywine in Coatesville, PA. The water was clear and moving at a good rate so after turning around at the half-way mark, the kids were able to get in the water and float back downstream. That morning was topped off by a brown paper bag lunch on the side of the river. It was a really fun experience.
Every afternoon from 1:45pm until 2:45pm the kids participated in group discussions on different topics. The days’ subject matter included: Relationships, Anger Management, Grief and Violence. Those discussions did get intense so the group went straight to the pool to burn off some steam afterwards and bring some laughter back into the picture.
Dinners were always fun and so nourishing. Immediately following dinner, the RISE kids sat and listened to inspirational speakers each evening. Every speaker is from Chester and most talked about the things that they needed to overcome in order to stay on a straight and narrow, righteous path and to become a successful adult. The RISE members could really associate with each speaker and found their testimonies to be so inspiring and motivational.
That lead to a natural discussion each night about Goal Setting. The group covered personal, academic and community service goals. The kids learned that goals need to be: specific, measurable, attainable, reasonable and time-sensitive. They were challenged to put goals together for themselves in those three areas. Before heading to bed, the kids had some fun time either at campfire, a pool party, a carnival, or at a dance and then evening discussion before bed.
The week culminated on Thursday night with a Grand Ascension of personal lanterns. The kids each gave some thought to how they want to RISE up and change their city and what they can personally do to become a leader in Chester. Then they lit their lantern and let them fly high into the night sky. The pack of lanterns headed south in the direct drifting pattern over Chester, PA. How inspiring!
On Friday the kids had a little bit of time to get cleaned up and packed and then they participated in a large team building activity and lunch. With lots of hugs and thanks to their Counselors, the RISE kids headed back to Chester. They will be beginning weekly meetings in September.
TO SEE THE RISE CAMP VIDEO, PLEASE CLICK HERE.
Krapf Bus Company
Bulldog Rod & Custom
Pulse Beauty Academy
The Master’s Baker
The McCool Family
Terry Boate, RN