Summer Enrichment Program being revived in Bladen County

By: By Chrysta Carroll -

A summer program designed to give kids something constructive to do while out of school is being revived.

For years, East Bladen High School teacher Quessie Peterson held the Summer Enrichment Program in Bladen County. When she retired from teaching seven years ago and subsequently ceased volunteering for the program, the effort stopped. Recently, however, she saw the need again.

“With all the violence that has gone on in the Clarkton housing projects, these kids need something to do during the summer, because the problem doesn’t seem to be abating,” she explained. “When I started looking into getting it revived, naturally I was volunteered to handle it.”

Peterson began inquiring with local officials, business owners, and teachers and secured enough sponsorships to bring the effort to fruition. The result is a five-week day program offered free to area school children.

The five-week day camp, which will take place from late June to late July, will be held at two sites — Elizabethtown and Clarkton. The enrichment program is open to children ages 6-12, but Pelterson said they “wouldn’t turn away a 13-year-old if he or she would be staying at home alone.”

The program will take place daily from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m., and both breakfast and lunch will be served each day. Supervised academic enrichment from retired or current teachers, counseling services provided by school counselors or LifeBridge Counseling Center, and recreational and sports programs are just a few of the offerings during the five weeks.

Attendees will take field trips to local sites like Jones Lake State Park and Gooden Farms, as well as out-of-county places like Wilmington points of interest or amusements parks.

“Our last big bang, if you will, will be a trip to the Science Museum in Raleigh, which is a wonderful place and will be educational for the students,” Pelterson commented.”

Each day, the students will be visited by guest speakers who will talk to attendees about their respective jobs.

“It’s never too early for children to start thinking about their future,” Peterson remarked. “They’ll get to see what it takes to be a plumber, for instance, and see that there is a career out there for them.”

Guest speakers so far include a Bladen County Board of Education member, a Presbyterian minister, and a Columbus County sheriff’s deputy.

Additional activities include movies, bowling, and STEM enrichment.

The Summer Enrichment Program will take place daily from June 26-July 17, 2017.

For additional information or to register a child, call 910-647-0743 or stop by LifeBridge, located at 200 W. Broad Street in Elizabethtown. Registration will be limited to the first 45 applicants.

The effort is being sponsored by LifeBridge, in conjunction with 21st Century Community Learning Centers and Bladen Family Support Initiative.

Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.

By Chrysta Carroll