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17 sign up for H.O.P.E. Summer Reading Program

May 29, 2013
By MEGHAN McCOY ( ) , Pine Island Eagle

The Beacon of H.O.P.E. Summer Reading Program has 17 children registered for the camp, which will run from Monday, June 3, through Thursday, July 11.

The theme of this year's camp is "Pine Island Arts and Culture."

Beacon of H.O.P.E. Students Achieving Success coordinator Rebecca Rose said the children range in age from 1st grade through 6th grade. She said some of the students are previous SAS students who wanted to come back and be a part of the camp as junior mentors.

Rose said this year she has a helper, Paul Pichon, which she is very excited about.

The Summer Reading Program currently has 10 mentors who are volunteering their time to help the youngsters.

Some of those mentors include individuals from the Pine Island Writers Club.

Rose said published children's author and illustrator Lori Rhule and author Nancy Leake are going to do a writers workshop with the kids.

"We also have a writer from New York who is going to be visiting the island," Rose said. "She wants to visit with the kids and do a writer's workshop."

She said the workshops are going to take place at Matlacha Park, so the youngsters have the ambiance of the water and osprey.

"It will help facilitate their creative writing inspiration," Rose said, adding that they will also enjoy lunch in the park as well.

Artist Mel Meo will also be visiting and working with the kids for an art workshop during the camp. In addition, a professional musician will be providing music lessons every week.

"We have the opportunity to have a professional artist and musician visiting us with our little program," Rose said. "I'm over the moon."

Other activities will include the kids learning about poetry, storytelling, as well as participating in a talent show.

Field trips are also a part of the agenda for the Summer Reading Camp. Rose said they will be visiting the library to do some exploring of the books, as well as activities like making jewelry and book marks. A field trip to the Tropical Point Pine Island mudflats, as well as the Calusa Nature Center are also scheduled.

Although they have mentors and storytellers for the camp, Rose said they could definitely use more story readers.

"We would love to have people from the Pine Island community to share their talents and gifts with the kids," Rose said. "We know there are a lot of people who are very talented, we want to invite them to visit."

She said since fishing is a huge part of where they live, it would be great to have people that know about boating, fishing and the water to come and talk to the kids.

Anyone interested in volunteering their time can call the Beacon of H.O.P.E. at 239-283-5123.

In addition to the Summer Reading Program, a free Culinary Camp will also be held for eight weeks, with the first day kicking off on June 14 for middle and high school students. Free transportation is also included for the youngsters.

"The young lady that is going to be coordinating it is Nichole Pichon," Rose said.

The Culinary Camp will teach the youngsters some cooking techniques, fun gourmet cooking techniques, as well as basic techniques that can be applied as life skills.

"A lot of those kids are graduating SAS kids and they are going to come back and serve the things they have made to our summer reading kids," Rose said. "We are really excited."

St. John's Episcopal Church is opening its kitchen for the youngsters to use during the camp.

"They will be cooking and preparing their foods down there," Rose said.

The camp, which will be comprised of about 16 kids, still has a few slots available. Those interested in signing up can call the Beacon of H.O.P.E. at 239-283-5123.

"This has always been part of our mission with SAS," Rose said. "Dr. (Jim) Cole had this vision of doing something more for the kids in this community that would follow them through middle school and high school. Now it's all coming to fruition. We couldn't be more delighted that this is happening."



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