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Hale County camp reaches youth

GREENSBORO – Some 275 children from Hale County are participating in the Sawyerville Day Camp, which is currently being held this week on the campus of Greensboro East High School.

Reverend Aaron Raulerson of the Trinity Episcopal Church in Demopolis said the Day Camp has been going on in Hale County for over 15 years now. The program is a summer camp for the children of Sawyerville, about 10 years ago, the Episcopal Diocese of Alabama took on the responsibly of continuing the program.

“The counselors for this summer camp are college and high school students that have given up going to Europe or other places to come to Greensboro to make a difference in these children’s lives,’ Raulerson said.

Reverend Bill Blackerby, along with his son William are from Birmingham and are both serving different positions during the camp. Bill Blackerby is the Program Director for the Upper Camp, which consists of children ages 11-14.

“There are about 150 children in each camp,” Blackerby said, “The summer camp is split into two camps, Upper (11-14) or Lower (6-10) Camp.”

The program has been very successful over the past 15 years and with the continued support of the church and the staff, the program will only continue to grow. The current staff only allows for the camp to hold around 275, but there are many more children that are on a waiting list just to come, he said.

“I’ve enjoyed the past few days with the children,” Blackerby said.

William is serving on the staff and working on his Eagle Scout at the same time. He is working with the swimming staff and implementing his Eagle Scout Project (A coloring book) to help the children learn to swim.

“This has been a blast working with this children and helping them learn to swim, William said. “Plus getting to see my project have an impact on a child’s life is the most rewarding experience of all.”

Susanna Whitsett, Camp Director has been a mainstay during all the camps held in Hale County. She has been working with the camps for over 11 years and loves every minute of it.

“The camp is a biblically program based on activities, crafts, and reading with the children,” Whitsett said, ” The theme for the camp is ‘Move your hands, Move your feet, Follow the way, Follow the beat.”

The camp received major help in the form of donations from many businesses. In all, about $10,000 worth of merchandise including book bags, water bottles, books for the children, and many other items.

“The camp will end on Saturday, but on Friday we’re going to the McWane center and the Children’s Hands on Center,” Whitsett said.