Jacksboro UMC hosts summer reading camp for children in poverty

Jacksboro UMC hosts summer reading camp for children in poverty

By Dave Grant

JACKSBORO, Tenn. (July 30, 2015) -- To engage children in the Jacksboro-Caryville-LaFollette communities of Campbell County, Tennessee, Jacksboro United Methodist Church hosted its third annual Summer Adventures in Reading Camp during the week of July 13-17.

Nineteen students from 1st to 8th grades participated along with 12 adults and two high-school students as instructors and guides. Elementary students rotated between five center activities: cooking, reading games on Kindles, science, readers' theater (in which students practice reading a play), and direct reading instruction.

The middle school group focused all of their reading instruction around being a detective. They learned about fingerprints through instruction and participating in a science experiment. They read and solved several mysteries and crimes.

The camp was from 9 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. Breakfast and lunch were served daily. On Wednesday, students went to the Jacksboro Fire Station and learned about fire safety as well as the firefighter’s need for good reading skills. The students also went to the Jacksboro Library for a tour and information about getting a library card. Parents were invited to watch the “Readers' Theater” performances on Friday. Everyone enjoyed the plays and then stayed for lunch.

The idea for a reading camp came to the pastor, Rev. Dave Grant, a few years ago at the Holston Annual Conference when a speaker made reference to elementary school reading skills being a predictor in number of jail cells to build in the future. Grant called church member, Cyndi Mabry, who had experience as a reading specialist and asked her what she thought about doing a summer reading camp to boost reading skills and build interest in reading.

Mabry was immediately on board and discovered that both Grant and Mabry had the same ideas. The camp began in 2013 with a pilot, and some adjustments were made in 2014.

In 2015 the church was able to reach out to Caryville Elementary School for students who needed extra instructional time. The church was happy to have the opportunity to work with Caryville Elementary School and reach more students for the camp.
Camper numbers remain limited so that there is enough attention paid to each child.It is the church’s dream to train other churches in taking a similar program back to their communities.

The Rev. Dave Grant is pastor at Jacksboro United Methodist Church and Caryville United Methodist Church.

To find out more about Holston's 2015 mission challenge for children in poverty, visit WaytoGive.Holston.org.

Apply for a Holston ministry grant serving children in poverty. Next deadline is Aug. 15.