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City Lawmakers Open More Summer Camp Spots This Season

Rhema Thompson

A bill passed Tuesday night by the Jacksonville City Council will give hundreds more kids a chance to experience summer camp this year.Before city lawmakers and several groups of campers, Mayor Alvin Brown signed a bill that will add $172,000 more to the city’s camp programs this summer.

The ordinance, sponsored by council members Kimberly Daniels, Richard Clark and Reginald Brown, was passed unanimously by city council members Tuesday night and will open the door for 460 more children to join city summer camps.

“It’s about empowering young people to be self-sufficient and allows them to have a good time to exercise their mind, body and soul,” Brown said, just before signing the new legislation.

The funding will be awarded to 12 of city sponsored summer camps. The city determined funding for each program according to the number of children on its waiting list. The city currently sponsors 84 summer programs in all through the Jacksonville Children’s Commission.   

Michael G. Gulley, associate director of Malavai Washington Kids Foundation, said with the additional funding, the camp expects to add 15 to 20 more kids to its program. The camp currently serves about 160 kids across the city.

“A lot of times the funding doesn’t match what the actual cost associated with running with a camp really is, so any additional funding that we can get during this time is great,” he said.

Jacksonville Children’s Commission Director Jon Heymann said additional seats will help curb the number of students getting into trouble over the summer as well as the dreaded “summer slide”--the loss of learning that often comes with weeks out of class.
“Kids will do something over the summer, either good or bad or somewhere  in between,” he said. “When they’re not involved in summer camps, they call it the ‘summer slide’ and that’s not a slide forward. It’s a slide backwards.”

All told, with the 460 new slots available, the city will serve about 5,400 students across Duval County this summer.

Here is a breakdown of the additional funding and seats by program:

  • Joshua Christian Academy: $8,250 in added funds; 22 more seats.
  • Cornerstone Christian Fellowship: $18,750 in added funds; 50 more seats.
  • Tiphne Darshay Hollis Foundation: $7,500 in added funds; 20 more seats.
  • Household of Faith: $18,750 in added funds; 50 more seats.
  • The Carpenter’s Shop Center: $2,250 in added funds; 6 more seats.
  • Wayman Academy of the Arts Inc.: $6,825 in added funds; 18 more seats.
  • Community Connections Davis Center: $3,750 in added funds; 10 more seats.
  • Girls Inc.: $3,750 in added funds; 10 more seats.
  • Police Athletic League of Jacksonville Inc.-Community-Based: $18,000 in added funds; 48 more seats.
  • Police Athletic League of Jacksonville Inc. -TEAM-UP: $3,750 in added funds; 10 more seats.
  • Malavai Washington Kids Foundation: $6,000 in added funds; 16 more seats.
  • Communities in Schools: $75,000 in added funds; 200 more seats.

You can follow Rhema Thompson on Twitter @RhemaThompson.

Rhema Thompson began her post at WJCT on a very cold day in January 2014 and left WJCT to join the team at The Florida Times Union in December 2014.