JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - 81 children, in kindergarten through first grade, have gathered at Spann Elementary School this week, and will also be there next week for a brand new summer camp. They're learning music, getting in shape, and getting intense classroom instruction. This is the first ever Camp Wisdom, and it's all because Spann volunteer Elizabeth Keller saw a need.
Keller and her husband recently moved to the Jackson area from New Jersey. Elizabeth noticed there weren't many options for summer time. "Most programs offered in the city are half day programs," she says.
She spent months organizing the camp and securing funding. Because of all that hard work, the children are having a great time at the first-ever Camp Wisdom. In one room, they're competing against themselves performing jumping jacks and pushups. In another room, they're quietly reading with in instructor inside a tent.
The children have come from schools across the city, and even private schools from outside Jackson. "We get to color, do lots of stuff," says one camper.
It's tough for young people to retain all of their school year knowledge over summer break, but Camp Wisdom is helping to fill the gap. Virtually every minute of each eight-hour camp day is filled.
"Playing football, baseball, tennis ball," says one student.
"We get to learn and do math," says another.
"We have a picture book every morning. We have a chapter book at lunchtime. They also make their own lunches," Keller says.
Grants are helping to fund the camp, and each instructor,except Elizabeth, is paid. The student- teacher ratio is 3 to 1, and in some cases 2 to 1.
The camp is also funded by donations, from companies like Entergy, Goldman Sachs, and Cellular South. A family in New Jersey also provided funding.
©2010 WLBT. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.