Sunday, June 13, 2004

Neighborhood kids take camp into own hands

Good things happening

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Eighteen neighborhood kids gather about noon each day. They bring lunch bags and boxes, drinks, games and books.

It is summer camp time - a popular time of the year for young people that allows them to experience time away from home.

Only this camp is different. It is not out in the woods, but in the back yard of a house in the neighborhood.

The program was started by Kelsey Bartsch and Allison Wiers, both 12.

They livein the 700 block of McMakin Avenue, Winton Place.

"We just thought it would be a lot of fun to have camp in our back yards," Allison said.

The group is called the Kids Club. The idea is to provide a camp atmosphere close to home.

"We have lunch, play games, read books and tell stories," Kelsey said. "It may not be as good as going away to camp, but we have fun with it."

The camp started this week, and they have rotated it in each other's back yards.

"We are planning on doing another camp later this summer," Kelsey said. "I don't know how that will work out because a lot of the neighborhood kids are going on vacation."

Erin Bartsch, Kelsey's mother, said the girls thought of the idea themselves.

"The only thing the parents have had to do is make sure they get to the store to get what they needed," Erin Bartsch said.

She said Kelsey and Allison are home-schooled and are in seventh grade.

Awards banquet

Two people will receive the Black Achiever Legend Award during the 26th annual Salute to Black Achiever Banquet at 6:30 p.m. Friday at the Hyatt Regency Hotel.

They are Gayle Brock and Marguerite McCoy.

Both are former honorees. McCoy is owner of Culinary LeCollage Catering, Evanston. She was a black achiever in 1997.

Brock was a black achiever in 1989, when she was executive director of the West End Branch YMCA. She now serves as National Director of Black Achievers and Leadership Development Consultant for the YMCA of the USA.

McCoy has spent more than 30 years volunteering with the YMCA.

Fifty-nine other individuals, nominated by their companies or member organizations, will receive the honor of the 2004 African American Black Achievers Award.

The Cincinnati Black Achievers program was started in 1979 and honors African-American Individuals who have made outstanding contributions to their communities.

This year's speaker is Bertice Berry of San Diego, a sociologist, author and lecturer.

FAITH MATTERS: Hospital, church bring singers

HYDE PARK - One local church is working with Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center to bring healing, fun, faith and music to children in Greater Cincinnati.

The Hyde Park Community United Methodist Church collaborated with the hospital to bring the Celebration Shop, a well-known children's performing group, to entertain patients at the hospital.

At 7 p.m. Wednesday, the church, 1345 Grace Ave., Hyde Park, will host a concert by the group, which includes Jim Newton and Paul Hill. The performance is open to the public.

"They started singing in hospitals, and then realized they have a message to share with everyone," said Barbara Boersig, a volunteer at the church.

Newton has been touring and performing the positive music of Celebration Shop at churches, colleges, schools and hospitals since 1981 before teaming up with Hill and writing songs with Noel Paul Stookey of Peter, Paul and Mary fame.

The group has released several children's albums geared at raising self-esteem, including Friends of the Family, Best I can Be and We Can Do.

"We're really excited to have them and share the concert with the community," Boersig said.

The concert is part of the church's "Summer Nights" program. Admission is $3 at the door.

For more information, call 871-1345.

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