Barton Village leaders pull together to keep camp open

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News 12 at 6 o'clock, June 14, 2007

AUGUSTA, Ga---Leaders in Augusta's Barton Village community are pulling together for the kids.

For the first time, the neighborhood's summer camp is operating with no money from the city.

The children are excited about the summer camp in the Barton Village community center. But, they have no idea what it's taking to keep it open.

"It has been very hard for us," camp director Bettye Jones says.

For the first year, they're operating with no money. The fifty thousand dollars in grant money the neighborhood enhancement program received from the city for the last five years , was not renewed this time. However, Jones says she is determined to pull through.

"There was no way i was going to sit out here with this building and let these children sit around the community and do nothing," Jones told us.

Jones and Augusta commissioner Bernard Harper are digging in their pockets to keep the camp alive. Neighbors have also donated toys, prizes, and their time.

Most of the 63 kids in the free camp come from low income families in the Barton Chapel area. Jones says in a community with known gang violence and other crime, the camp is critical.

"If they were not here, they'd be walking the streets, getting in trouble," Jones says.

It's a community effort. Neighborhood grandmothers act as counselors and fifteen year old Mason Frazier also works for free as a counselor to give the young boys someone to look up to.

"Don't try to follow the crowd, don't do what you see other people doing, try to do what you want to do, what suits you," Frazier says.

Jones says she doesn't know how they'll keep things running through August, but says she's prayerful and determined to make it happen.

If you would like to find out more information about the camp or donate.
You can reach them at (706) 821-1122

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