Homeless camp – it’s not what you think!
One might expect state-champion varsity lacrosse players – and their ardent supporters – to spend summer break totally immersed in sports and fun. Not so for these Lake Highland students. They led a week-long Enrichment Camp for youngsters who call the Coalition “home.”
The brainchild behind this camp is 18-year-old senior Max Jasmund, whose family has a history of volunteering at the Coalition. Last year, Max and several teammates spent a week mulching our playground as a sort-of mission trip in their own backyard. As LAX players, they named themselves “Lending A-hand Xross-town” and proudly wore shirts that said so!
“I knew I wanted to come back again this year,” Max explains. “I wanted to do something for the kids, so we came up with the enrichment camp idea.” He also wanted to pass on the “giving back” philosophy, recruiting three younger team members and a female friend to join in. Max approached his mom, Lisa, to help organize the interactive camp for Coalition kids. And the rest, as they say, is history!
Lisa called upon a Lake Highland teacher, who helped plan the activities along with the parents. To help prepare the student volunteers for the 4 to13-year-old homeless campers they’d meet, she also led some heart-to-heart talks with them about how to engage with our kids, and the reality of how homelessness affects families today. (A good educator, she punctuated her discussions with a “60 Minutes” video clip and some required reading!)
There’s no way to describe how exciting the results of all that preparation were! The Coalition’s TV room was abuzz with activity: arts and crafts, a puzzle and game center, the one-on-one reading area, plant potting, a music and story session, lunch…and more! And what would summer camp be like without outside activities, such as football, bubbles, soccer, beach balls and jump rope? Well, Coalition kids wouldn’t know!
We think 13-yr-old Marcos summed it up pretty well when he told us, ”My favorite part is all of it. The only bad part about this week is that it’s only one week. I wish they would come again next week! …My siblings are having fun too.”
In addition to Max, his parents and sister Elise, a big “thank you” goes to Lake Highland students William Wolfson, Don Eidson, Maggie Mitchell, Max Parker, their wonderful parents, and the other “recruits.” You have given more joy than you know.