Young Men United offered a three-day summer camp for children ages 5-13 last week. The event attracted about 30 children each day.
Children participated in a wide array of activities, including making tie dye T-shirts, painting rocks, painting faces, and playing table hockey and cornhole. They also received visitors from Collins River Fire Department, Warren County Ambulance Service, Warren County Sheriff’s Department and McMinnville Police Department.
Among the children in attendance was Kaitlyn Ramsey, 13, and Lutraya Hall, 9.
“I’m having fun,” said Kaitlyn, as she made a tie dye T-shirt. “This is my second year coming here. I still have my T-shirt from last year. Now, I have two.”
Hall was asked about her favorite activity so far.
“I like making this tie dye T-shirt,” said Lutraya last Wednesday. “Today’s my birthday. I’m 9 years old today.”
She was surprised with a birthday cake and presents after lunch.
Tayasha Martin, 14, just missed the age cutoff and decided to volunteer.
“It’s been fun,” said Tayasha. “I wanted to attend but I was too old so I decided to volunteer. I’ve liked it. I help the younger children when they need it.”
She was among numerous volunteers who made the event possible. Adults helping with the event were Katherine Strode, Carolyn Battles, Teresa Smith, Debbie Helton, Madison Helton, Ella Hale, Maxine Weedon, Gwen Martin, and Bobbi Dillard.
“This wouldn’t have been possible without our volunteers and the generosity of the community,” said Johnnie Terry, who organized the camp with Helen Martin. “Hiawassee Church of Christ and Browntown Church of Christ donated lunch for the children on Monday and Tuesday. An anonymous donation of pizza was made for Wednesday. We appreciate everyone’s support.”
Emergency response vehicles arrived Wednesday morning and children were allowed an up-close look.
“The children loved the emergency vehicles,” said Terry. “They were all over them. It was fun watching them climbing in and out of the firetruck. We appreciate the support those departments showed us.”
Being its second year, the program hopes to expand.
Terry says computers are in the works, as well as matinee movies and events specifically for older children.
“We found a grant to buy two computers so hopefully we will have two computers soon,” she said. “We also hope to start showing movies on Friday and Saturday. It gives parents a break. If they need to go to town, they can drop their child off here to watch a movie while they go to town. We also want to offer a fall fling for the older children. The summer camp is for young children. The fall fling would be for children 13-15. They would get to dress up and socialize with one another.”
Young Men United was established in 1998 and is a nonprofit organization committed to helping others in the community who need help due to health, disaster or financial reasons. With a goal to encourage youth to take their idle time and make it productive instead of destructive or wasteful, the organization’s motto is “Building Character for Life.”
For more information, the organization can be reached at 815-9770 or at email@example.com.