Summer camp provides safe haven

Outside Peace Lutheran Church things are quiet. The action is inside this Wednesday. Children dance, sing, craft and more. They're taking part in G'Life Summer Camp. A sort of full service getaway. And one that came about because another summer camp did not. "It was really a rushed thing," says Assistant Director of Gifts of Life Ministries Leslie Montague. "And we got it done in one week."

Rushed to organize, maybe. But the people behind the camp say they knew they had to give the children around this Jackson Avenue church something to do this summer. "Because of the violence and all the crimes and everything he thought that we would provide a safe haven for the children," says Director of Gifts of Life Ministries Patricia O'Neal. She adds "also somewhere where they can grow and change."

Grow and change they did. Twelve year old Brandon Bradley admits he wasn't too excited about going to camp. "No, I didn't want to go at first." But in the past seven weeks he's learned a lot, "Respect. A whole lot of respect."

O'Neal says a lot of children shared Bradley's attitude. "Some of them would come in angry, some of them would come in, don't want to be here." But with a lot of attention and care that resistance gave way to rejoicing. "We came in and saw the need and we worked on it and now we feel we have a better program. Better children."

And better children make for a better community.

G'Life Summer Camp ends Friday with a big celebration at Peace Lutheran Church at 1542 Jackson Avenue. The program begins at 6pm. Organizers say this year was such a success they plan on hosting summer camp again next year.