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Presidents, math and much more

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Annual camp wraps up in Heath Springs

By Jesef Williams

HEATH SPRINGS – A few teenagers found an interesting way to memorize the presidents of the United States – a task many adults struggle with.

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Sure, we know George Washington was the first commander-in-chief. And Barack Obama and George W. Bush are the two most recent.

But who was the 11th president? What about the 27th?

While you may hesitate with a response, those teens were spatting out the names as part of a Bingo-themed game.

That game was one of several activities that took place during this year’s United Citizens Club of Heath Springs summer camp.

The camp, in its 10th year, ran Monday, June 24, through Thursday, June 28. Area students from kindergarten through 12th grade took part in the camp, which was led by Ruth Baronda.
Inside the community center on Hart Street, the camp’s 40 participants were separated by age group. The high school students played presidential Bingo.

A person would call out the name of a U.S. president and the other players had to place a chip on their Bingo card if that name corresponded with the correct number. For example, James K. Polk matches 11 and William Taft is 27.

If not at the camp doing activities such as the Bingo game, Amari McIlwain said she would have probably been home simply watching TV.

But “being with my friends” and learning about budgeting turned out to be quite enjoyable for the 14-year-old.

In a separate room, volunteer Rupert Combs assisted younger campers such as Isaac McMillan, 6, with computer activities. Combs said his reason for helping out year after year is simple.

“To see the kids laughing and learning and to know they have something positive to do during the summer,” he said. “It’s seeing them happy.”

William Bridges, a senior at the University of South Carolina, was another one of the camp’s 20 volunteers. Although for years he’s lived in close proximity to the community center, he just recently learned about the camp.   

After that, he said it didn’t take him long to decide to volunteer.

“I just wanted to help out,” Bridges said. “It’s a very rewarding experience to see when people get it.”

During the four-day camp, the youth got lessons on science, social studies, various math principles and popular computer software programs while freshening up on English skills.

Participants also picked up practical tips, such as taking efficient notes in class, writing effective business letters and resumes, applying to colleges and seeking financial aid.

Contact reporter Jesef Williams at (803) 283-1152