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Annual summer student camps to kick off at Theo Ratliff Center

The Theo Ratliff Activity Center is hosting multiple free summer camps for kids to enrich their lives and have fun while doing it.

Starting Monday, the Ratliff Center will kicked off their own summer camp Summer Adventures in Learning (SAIL) that is funded through the Daniel Foundation. The Ratliff Center and U.S. Jones Elementary School are partnering together to help prevent summer learning loss in reading and math from June 4 to July 10.

Students in grades 3-5 are participating in the five-week summer program from 8 a.m. to noon. They will use STAR Assessment to determine their skill level in each subject and then use an individualized learning plan from Voyager’s Summer Success Math and Reading program. Each student will receive instruction from qualified teachers.

“There is no competition in it. Each child will have their own program,” said Carolyn Moore, assistant coordinator for the Ratliff Center.

Students from U.S. Jones applied for the program in March.

During the same weeks as SAIL, from 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., Kids Who Care will teach kids aged 6-13 constructive alternatives to negative behavior. The Aletheia House program is open to all students, and those participating in SAIL can join the camp at noon.

“After having academics for three and a half hours, then we go into the enrichment part,” Moore said.

Kids will experience a wide range of guest speakers, character building lessons, health and fitness, music, arts and crafts, swimming, dancing and mentoring. There is no deadline to apply, so kids can join in at any time.

Free snacks and lunch will be provided to students, and all programs will end at noon on Fridays.

Also from Aletheia House, Eat Better & Move More is a five-week summer program teaching kids the benefits of healthy eating and exercise. Eat Better & Move More meets one day a week at two different times and includes a parent component.

“You will be participating through a text messaging program where we send about three texts a week. You’re going to be given some healthy food tips and physical activity tips. I’m going to be sending home little recipe cards with your kids every week. So you guys will be participating, and so will the children,” said Tammy Glass at a parents orientation meeting on May 31. She will be leading the program.

Hour-long sessions will be held on June 7 at 10 and 11 a.m., June 15 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m., June 21 at 10 and 11 a.m., June 28 at 10 and 11 a.m. and July 5 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. Glass said that there is a possibility for a sixth week with sessions meeting on July 12 at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

Kids who have completed 4th, 5th or 6th grade can sign up through Aletheia House’s Kids Who Care Program.

WAMHC Hosting Summer Camp

West Alabama Mental Health Center will also be holding a summer camp at the Ratliff Center. The WAMHC Summer Camp will be from June 25-28 and on July 2 from 2:30-5 p.m.

“We’ll be teaching the kids about empowerment, avoiding bullying, controlling their anger and talking to them about drugs,” said Julian Wiggins of WAMHC.

Children aged ten to seventeen will receive a different lesson on each day such as character and health, individual aspiration, leadership and action. On July 2, the summer camp will have its wrap-up session. Kids and teens should sign up by June 25 in order to participate.

Children and teenagers aren’t the only ones getting programs this summer. Gloria Duff of Marengo County Extension Office leads Eating Smart Being Active, a workshop that teaches adults about healthy eating in a six-week, once-weekly program. Duff is looking to move the program to the Ratliff Center, so those interested may call Duff at 205-499-8760 to schedule a date and time.

Director of the Ratliff Center Edward Ward said that he was excited for the kids to join them at the center for the various programs offered.

“It’s our goal to provide a fun and safe environment for the kids this summer.”

(This article originally appeared in the Saturday, June 2 issue of the Demopolis Times.)