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Nichols: Summer is full of great programs for children
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Rob Andrews, president of the Gainesville Lions Club, reported that the Children’s Theater Program recently completed another major success in helping raise money for charities that support benefits for children in need of assistance for glasses, hearing aids and diabetes.

The Lions Club Children’s Theater is held twice a year. Local companies and individuals purchase tickets that they give to elementary school children, who attend the program for free. The program changes from time to time, from puppet shows to magic tricks and sometimes the program focuses on child safety in the home and outdoors.

The Arts Council of Gainesville is sponsoring a number of programs aimed at the young people of our city. These include Cultural Arts Day Camps, Inner City Youth Arts Camps, Puppet Theater and Arts in Schools.

The Gainesville Parks and Recreation department has an outstanding variety of programs scheduled. These include summer day camps for discovery, quest and explorer programs, and training for camp counselors. Learn to swim classes are offered as well as life guard training, water safety training and first aid and CPR.

Sports camps are offered for girls basketball, fishing, bowling, volleyball, tennis, soccer, softball and baseball. Youth programs are offered in rookie golf, youth football, cheerleading and tennis. Also offered are programs for Pee Wee bowling, tennis and golf.

Specialty camps offer programs in 26 different areas, including digital photography, CSI Gainesville, Time Journey to Wild Wild West, Clowning Around and Manners are Marvelous. The facilities include the civic center, Green Street pool, Martha Hope Cabin, Frances Meadows center to be opened soon, Allen Creek Soccer Complex, Lanier Canoe and Kayak Club and several other locations. For more information, check the Web site at

The Gainesville High School Warehouse will have two plays of interest to young people: Honk on June 10-11, and Annie on July 9-12.

Two special day camps will be held at River Forks Park in Gainesville. Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Center will run Camp Braveheart from June 16-20 for elementary children and from July 7-11 for middle school children. These two programs are especially designed to address the needs and developmental stages of kids who have experienced the death of a loved one.

For the five days of the camp, the schedule will be as follows: 8:30 a.m. campers drop-off; 9–11:30 a.m., art therapy; 11:30 a.m.-noon, nature walks in the park; lunch; 1-3 p.m., experiential therapy, 3-3:30 p.m., reflection on the day’s events. Campers pick up and return home.

Hospice trained staff will run the program, but they need volunteers to assist in three areas: 1. “Big Buddies:” Adults who work and play with the children. A five-day commitment is required. 2. Food preparation. Campers are served mid-morning snacks, lunch and mid-afternoon snacks. Volunteers pick up food. Driver’s license is required. 3. Food servers. Person may volunteer for few hours or all five days.

Volunteers are subject to background check. If you wish to volunteer to assist in Camp Braveheart, contact Jennifer Sorrels, LCSW, bereavement counselor, Hospice of Northeast Georgia Medical Canter, 770-533-8528.

One other camp will be held, not in Gainesville, but in Rutledge. From June 29 to July 4, the Camp to Belong Organization is holding its first camp in Georgia, which is specifically designed for siblings who have been separated by officials when placed in foster homes. An estimated 75 percent of all children in foster home care have been separated from their siblings.

The Camp to Belong will bring siblings together for a brief reunion at the camp. They have room for 70 young campers. They are targeting one volunteer counselor for every two campers. A counselor training session will run from June 27-28 two days prior to the camp. The camp is free to participants.
This program was established in Las Vegas in 1995 and is currently running summer camps in Nevada, Oregon, Idaho, Maine, Washington, D.C., Canada and Australia.

For more information, contact Jennifer Foushee at 864-270-5364 or go to the Internet site: www.camptobelong

The programs listed above are only some of those planned for this summer. I want to thank the many volunteers who have planned and will staff these programs. The time and money devoted to these activities will benefit the children who are our future.

Tom Nichols is a retired college professor who lives in Gainesville. His column appears frequently and on

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