It’s not everyday you get to build your own boat, buy your own car, or serve people in a soup kitchen.
But for the 28 students at Camp Learn 2 Serve, these are three goals they’re turning into a reality this summer …. sort of.
“The whole idea is to teach them [campers] about service through learning,” said Learn 2 Serve Camp Director, Rebekah Ralph. “We take academic classes and tie in service projects …. it’s hands on learning. It’s not just a pen and book in a classroom. Kids are taking charge of their learning.”
This summer the 28 campers, composed of 5th through 8th graders from schools all over Troup County, are focusing on the theme of transportation.
Dr. Cindy Bowen, a Long Cane Middle School science teacher, is also teaching that same subject at camp. This is her sixth year as a lead teacher at Camp Learn 2 Serve.
“They [campers] get to see how science, math, and reading work together,” she explained. “They get to solve problems and have fun….we do projects that we don’t normally do in a regular classroom.”
Like building boats. Campers are working in groups to research and plan out their boat designs, graph them out on paper, then transfer and cut out their boat … from cardboard. In a week or two, the campers will test out their designs by getting in to their cardboard creation in the LaGrange College swimming pool.
“I really think we [group] are going to sink,” said camper Caroline Beall. “So we’re practicing the most dramatic scene [as we sink].”
“It’s fun learning new ways to transport people from place to place and do a projects with it,” said camper Nyahla Hubbard. “I like you can learn new things … and have fun with it. “
Like theoretically buying a new car. Campers are using their math skills to pick three cars to compare and contrast, plan ways to buy the vehicle, plus pay for gas and auto insurance. The group also took a field trip to a local bank to learn about loans. Campers are preparing a presentation that they’ll show off to their parents on the last day of camp.
“A lot of people think it’s like school, but it’s nothing like school,” said Beall. “You go through the same classes, but it’s more fun.”
In reality, the Learn 2 Serve campers are actually building their own library system out at Granger Park. The facility will house books that people can take, read, and bring back on an honor system. Right now, the kids are writing letters asking folks to donate books to their project.
In addition, campers have taken field trips to the Troup County Archives and the Legacy Museum on Main. Plus, a few days a week, the group also helps out in a soup kitchen at the local Methodist Church.
“It’s the importance of life long learning, and how important it is to use what you know to serve the community,” explained Ralph.
“I like the service projects and helping people,” said Beall. “We learn a lot of new stuff while having fun …. and we meet a lot of new friends.”
“It allows us to have a head start before school begins again,” said Hubbard.
Knowledge, wisdom, and projects students will then share with their family and friends during a special ceremony at the end of camp later this month.