​See All         

  • The Enterprise: Free summer camp draws children to Brockton parks

    BROCKTON – If Theo Julmice hadn’t registered for Brockton’s free day camp program, the North Middle School student said he’d probably be sitting at home all summer playing video games.

    Instead, Julmice and dozens of others city students on Monday were playing basketball, soccer and rowdy rounds of games like Sharks and Minnows on opening day at James Edgar Playground, one of five parks hosting the program through Aug. 20.

    Others are located at North Junior High, Hancock Park, The Gilmore School and O’Donnell’s Park.

    “What I really like are the sports,” Julmice said.

    The initiative that Mayor Bill Carpenter launched last summer, costs between $40,000 and $50,000 to run.

    It is paid through grants, fund-raisers and donations, including $15,000 from Chartwells, which provides food service to Brockton schools, Carpenter said.

    Federal funds for 30 counselors’ salaries come from the Brockton Area Workforce Investment Board, about $5,000 was raised at a golf tournament last summer and a small amount of money comes from the non-profit Mayor’s Children’s Fund

    “There is no taxpayer money involved,” he said.

    Besides offering children ages 7 to 12 somewhere to go four days a week – from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. – the camp also serves free breakfast and lunch.

    “The kids think this is just a fun thing to do this summer but for me, it is a safe haven for them,” Carpenter said.

    “Lots of working families can’t afford a fancy camp in the summer,” he said. “So, here they have exercise and activity and a healthy breakfast and lunch.”

    “I’m happy to be participating,” said Roosevelt Wilson, 12, who attends Plouffe Academy.

    As were 9-year-old cousins Jaime Goodwyn, an Angelo School student, and Taneja Goodwyn, who attends Baker Elementary.

    Supervisors Davonte Powell, 16, and Rebecca Jerome, 18, each said they are grateful for a good summer job.

    But, they said, working in the camp program means more than that.

    “I like kids and the camp is good for them because it helps them learn responsibility,” Powell said.

    Jerome, a sophomore at the University of New Hampshire, said she hopes one day to find a career working with children.

    Brockton Police Officer Bob Grayson stopped by for a visit along with members of the department’s motorcycle unit.

    “The nutrition program is great so kids aren’t going to the store to get chips and soda,” he said. “The camp also builds friendships.”

    Program director Chris Connolly, a Davis School history teacher, said opening day had a few glitches – including water dispensers that didn’t arrive – but overall all was well.

    Last year, 60 children showed up for the first day of camp while more than 100 were counted this year, officials said.

    Carpenter said he hopes to have 300-plus children enrolled by summer’s end.

    From: The Enterprise

    June 12, 2015