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Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016

Heritage Lake camp fosters values over video games

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Counselors Amber Russell (left) and Tammy Poole read to some of the children at the Heritage Lake "Survivor with Character" Summer Camp. Counselors chose books with themes about building character to parallel with the week's activities.
The Survivor with Character Camp has begun again at the Heritage Lake POA Clubhouse. And while children are enjoying many fun games and activities throughout the week, they are also being taught values that will serve them their entire lives.

The weeklong camp is open to all children in the North Putnam area, from kindergarten through eighth grade. Throughout the day, children are divided into groups and rotated through different stations, getting them involved in such activities as reading, archery and various different games.

"It's important for kids to get out of the house and away from video games," naturalist Randy Gordon of the Raccoon State Recreation Area said.

Gordon is among the 25-35 volunteers and counselors on hand throughout the week to assist the children.

The camp and activities are centered around a main theme, which this year is living with "hands wide open."

Each day focuses on a different character quality word. The words for the week are generosity, kindness, the super-listener, honesty and love. Intertwining games with these lessons, counselors hope that children will take these character qualities and apply them to their lives.

"It's important for us to encourage young people to develop and live out the character traits we're teaching," program director Jan Sallee said.

Throughout the day, children are challenged to try to exercise the character qualities, and to try and find the counselor who is exercising the quality of the day. If the children succeed in doing both, they earn a bead to add to their camp bracelet.

The third annual camp is a non-profit organization started by camp directors Julie Mitchel and Cindy Huddleston.

"The camp services all children," said Mitchel, "and is an outreach for children at risk."

With 74 children the first year, and 150 since, the camp has definitely been a success. Mitchel and Huddleston's vision is to continue the camp for years to come.

"Our goal is to reach out to children and families in the area, and to give support in all aspects of their lives, emotionally and physically," Huddleston said.

And with the camp well under way again this year, it promises to be a fun learning experience for all.