Even during the summertime, ASAP at Neighborhood Houses is full of fun learning opportunities for students. From July 8 to 12, ASAP students visited Camp MoVal in Union, Missouri, whose peaceful remoteness was a welcome change from the hustle and bustle of St. Louis. Nestled between rolling, forested hills, the camp gave the ASAP youth the opportunity to do many things that they couldn’t in the city—hiking, stargazing, canoeing, paddleboating, swimming, and playing capture the flag among them.
Neighborhood Houses Site Coordinator Niesha Nelson said the youth learn responsibility and leadership, in addition to participating in activities different than watching television and playing electronics.
“If I had this opportunity as a child, what would that have done to me, Nelson said. “Coming from a low income family, we couldn’t afford camp, and then, knowing that these kids can come here and have the chance to come here for free, and it’s a wonderful thing that we’re able to provide.”
Gundia Lockclay, Site Coordinator at Neighborhood Houses, said the youth learn good values and how to communicate with one another.
“They learn how to get along with each other. They see things that they don’t normally see,” Lockclay said. “They get to make friends. They get to go places that they have never been before."
It’s not just the adults who find value in attending summer camp. The youth themselves were surprised with how much fun they had during their time there.
“There’s very new things to explore and I didn’t know that it was going to be this much fun,” said nine-year old Zanenita Harrell. “It’s really fun to experience a new environment.”
Nine-year old Michael Theiman agreed.
“It’s like we’re getting out of the house, learning about other things, and meeting other people,” Theiman said.
Other youth have so much fun at camp, and learn so much, they are exhausted by the time the sun goes down.
"My favorite part is going to sleep, because after a full day, I'll be so tired," said eight-year-old Dinari Hilbert.