FLCC to host second free summer campWritten by Jay Hathaway | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Following a successful inaugural season, Feed Lucas County Children (FLCC) will host another free camp for kids this summer.
The free camp will run from June 17 through the end of July, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday at Knight Academy, 110 Arco Drive in Toledo. it is intended for children in grades one through six.
Last year, FLCC, which provides healthy meals to hungry children, hosted the summer camp for the first time. The camp was the brainchild of Khalfani Rice, an AmeriCorps VISTA worker at the time, and was executed with the help of FLCC Executive Director Tony Siebeneck.
The goal to provide a free camp experience for 600 area children. It seemed lofty at the time, but according to Siebeneck, it was met much sooner than expected.
“Within the first five days, we had 403 kids signed up,” he said. “A lot of camps around the county try to go for 60-80 on the average, and everybody kept talking about what the kids are going to do in the summer, so we aimed for 400-600, but when the first 400 hit, we said, ‘This might be enough!’”
Despite the unexpectedly high surge in attendance, Siebeneck proudly reported that no one was turned away. The numbers also impressed many others in the community and beyond.
“We were averaging around 340 every day,” Siebeneck said. “The people at the governor’s office were really impressed. They couldn’t believe we did that.”
Siebeneck explained that activities were often a mix of educational and physical exercises. He added that games like Red Rover helped accommodate large numbers of children who wanted to burn off their summer energy.
“We wore them out. We had them involved in so many activities,” Siebeneck said.
The kids also played soccer, one of many exercises aimed toward teaching the value of team building, which was one of the focal points of the camp.
Camp activities also concentrated on eating healthy foods. Campers worked in the gardens at the academy and learned about the benefits of a healthy diet.
“Many kids don’t get the chance to eat healthy foods,” Siebeneck said. “We threw them a lot of different types of ‘weird stuff,’ as the kids would say, that people should be eating.”
Siebeneck, a 2013 Jefferson Award recipient, explained his belief in responding to misbehavior with positive response, rather than punishment.
“We believe in the power of positive thinking, and positive reactions. So if we had a kid that was being disruptive we would put them in a leadership role, as an assistant. Subconsciously, he can’t act out, because he’s a leader. He has a title — he’s an assistant. We’re building self-esteem.”
Rice, now a district executive for the Cub Scouts, agreed that the camp was a success, and was extremely happy with the turnout.
“I honestly was completely amazed,” he said. “It was great to see that my efforts would impact some child’s life in a positive way.”
Rice added that the experience of attending summer camp leaves an indelible mark on the mind of a child.
This year’s format will be largely the same for the camp, with several additions. One of the new highlights will be a study of Chinese food, games and culture.
“We have one week where we have a group from China coming in, high school students, about 25 of them, and we’re going to have Chinese week,” Siebeneck said.
Siebeneck and FLCC are part of the Free From Hunger 2013 initiative, fronted by Columbia Gas of Ohio, Toledo Free Press, WNWO-TV and Moms on the Go and supported by Hollywood Casino Toledo, Wells Fargo Advisors and 1370 WSPD.
FLCC helps provide food to families who are struggling to feed their children. Siebeneck anticipates a busy summer and said FLCC will serve meals every day. He emphasized that assistance from members of the community is critical.
“We’re looking for those adults that have that one particular talent or skill, who may want to come in one day and do a special project. Our doors are wide open. There are a lot of areas that we could use help with.”
When asked what his greatest need is right now, Siebeneck replied that industrial kitchen equipment donations would go a long way toward fighting hunger.
“If I could get more cooking equipment, I could feed more kids. One piece of cooking equipment will give back for the next 10-15 years. That is one heck of a return on a donation.”
For more information on FLCC, visit www.feedlucaschildren.org.
Tags: 1370 WSPD, Columbia Gas of Ohio, Feed Lucas County Children, Feree From Hunger 2013, Toledo Free Press, Tony Siebeneck, Wells Fargo Advisors, WNWO-TV and Moms on the Go and supported by Hollywood Casino Toledo