More than a 1,000 Duval County kids will be able to go to camp this summer thanks to $541,000 the Jacksonville City Council approved Tuesday.
To celebrate, children from about 20 different summer camps were at Randolph Heritage Park for a field day Friday morning.
The City Council approved summer camp funding for an additional 1,500 local kids. Jon Heymann is CEO of the Jacksonville Children’s Commission, which administers the funding.
“I am incredibly grateful to the City Council,” Heymann said. “And I hope it sends a notice to the next City Council that we are a child-friendly city.”
He says kids should be in summer camps to keep them learning and out of trouble.
“If they’re not in summer camps, they’re sitting at home, doing nothing, eating junk food,” Heymann said. “Or they might be involved in criminal activity which we don’t want them to be.”
Heymann says camps funded by the Jacksonville Children’s Commission provide fun, education and meals. With this additional funding he says the Commission will be able to serve up to 7,000 campers.
Kelly Scott, with the Jacksonville Public Education Fund, was reading a Dr. Seuss book about hygiene to a group of kids from Community Connections summer camp. Community Connections is an organization that helps families get back on their feet.
Minkah Prier was one of the children Scott was reading to. He’s six years old and was wearing a lime-green Community Connections T-shirt that hit him around the knees and a red visor.
“I’ve been learning,” Prier said. “I learned my letters, and I learned to read. You can read books.”
He says his favorite book is “Horton Hears a Who.”