HFO was in the news this weekend telling the story of one of our three trips this summer.
About 20 students from schools around the city recently attended Kids Across America, a Christian Sports Camp near Branson, Mo.
Each year, the camp attracts urban youth from across the country for a variety of activities that include football, dance, basketball, swimming, golf, tennis and other sports. The trip was a reward of sorts, said Loren Carriere, manager of Hope for Opelousas, an outreach program that offers after-school tutoring to area kids. During the eight-day camp, students attended sports clinics, Bible studies and other group activities. The students ranged in age from 9 to 18 and were among about 600 campers who were divided into age-specific areas on the grounds.
"It was a good experience for them," Carriere said. "What we were excited most by was that a lot of the kids were able to meet other kids their age who are taking their faith seriously. They were around college students and were able to meet them on their level." The college students served as camp counselors. The trip was paid for by Hope for Opelousas through donations from sponsors, combined with funds in their annual budget, Carriere said.
On the last night of the camp, an awards ceremony was held and several Hope for Opelousas students were presented with awards. The most prestigious award given out at camp is the "I'm Third Award," which is given to one boy and girl student who exemplifies a "Christ-like" attitude by putting God first, others second, and considering themselves third. Hope for Opelousas' Ariel Charles, a student at the Magnet Academy for Cultural Arts and daughter of Danita and Rodrick Charles, was presented with this award by the camp's staff.
Also, each individual sport awards a Captain Award at KAA and five HFO students won these awards: Tavian Guilbeaux, Football Captain Award; Matthew Sanchez, Football Captain Award; Kevin Thomas, Basketball Captain Award; Ty Thomas, Basketball Captain Award; and Keisha Lyle, Dance Captain Award. It was the first time Hope for Opelousas students have attended the camp, but Carriere said it probably won't be the last. "The kids were blown away by it," he said.