Students attend holiday camp _lowres

Advocate photo by C. J. FUTCH -- The Gardere Initiative presented a Thanksgiving Holiday Camp over the school break, in collaboration with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff's Office and volunteers. The camp included art and craft activities for younger children, and a canoe trip to Lake Fausse Point for older children. Camp organizers are, back row from left, Cpl. Lisa Blackman, Dty. Melvin Edwards, Sgt. Chad Parker and Collins Phillips, a youth advocate for East Baton Rouge Schools; front row, from left, Yolanda Criss with AmeriHealth, Myeisha Smith, Gardere parent, Cpl. Lavontia Ealy, and parent Kimberly Stevenson.

The Gardere Initiative Faith Chapel Holiday Program kept students entertained while on Thanksgiving break Nov. 24 and 25, according to a news release.

In collaboration with the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Office, parent and community volunteers, the camp included arts, crafts, drama classes and a canoe trip for older students.

Sgt. Chad Parker, with the Sheriff’s Office; Collins Phillips, a youth advocate at Glasgow Middle; and Leslie Encarnacion held “listening circles” as part of the camp, Parker reported at the Gardere Initiative’s monthly meeting Dec. 3.

Students and volunteers talked about their experiences with bullying, peer pressure and other issues, Parker said.

Myeishia Smith led cupcake and cookie decoration for students in kindergarten and first grade, plus Thanksgiving crafts and art classes, Smith said, while several of the adults chaperoned the canoe trip.

Students learned how to navigate their canoes, and how to use the boats safely, Smith said. “I’d never used a canoe, either. A lot of people were running into trees and branches at first, but everybody got the hang of it.”

The holiday program will continue Dec. 22-23 and Dec. 29-30 during the Christmas holiday and return April 6-8.

For information, call the Gardere Initiative, (225) 769-0305, or visit the Ned Street offices.