Learning and having fun

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Children begin Hi-Kee summer program

By Jesef Williams

A collection of Silly Bandz was the hot topic among a group of youngsters at the Hi-Kee summer camp Wednesday.

Although those participants were excited about the popular rubber bands, you’d soon see that was just one of several things discussed during the day. Enrichment exercises took up a big part of their time.

The Hi-Kee camp, held at Steele Hill AME Zion Church on Charlotte Highway, began June 7 and runs through July.

Director Fred Witherspoon said 65 local students have signed up this summer – which is an all-time high for the camp, now in its eighth year.

This is the second straight year of the camp’s expanded format that includes more computer activities and reading activities.

“It has exceeded expectations,” Witherspoon said. “We feel like we’re able to offer a better program to the students.”

The campers are grouped by age and grade levels. On Wednesday, the third- and fourth-graders   worked on a computer activity in which they used a program to locate Lancaster on a map. Through that exercise, some of the students learned that other states have a Lancaster, including Pennsylvania, Texas and Ohio.

Exercising, learning about saving money and hatching chicks are just some of the other activities the students will delve into during the camp.

Fourth-grader Walter Barnette said he’s enjoyed the art component the most. So far, he’s already learned about drawing three-dimensional figures such as squares and houses.

“I like the art we do,” Barnette said. “It’s really cool.”

Tabitha Strong, 15, has been a camp participant in the past but is working as a volunteer this year. The experience is valuable because she thinks she wants to work with youth, possibly as a pediatrician.

“As a volunteer, it’s a lot more work, but I enjoy it,” Strong said about the camp. “The kids are actually learning – they’re learning a lot.”

The Hi-Kee summer camp is funded primarily by Partners For Youth Foundation. Dollar General Literacy Foundation and BB&T also support the camp.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at jwilliams@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 283-1152