Camp hits a bull's-eye with kids

07/31/2010 12:00 AM

07/31/2010 11:16 AM

Thirteen-year-old Jaheem Mann of Charlotte went to camp an archery novice, and left a pro.

Well, like a pro. He hit a bull's-eye the very first time he toed the orange launch line.

"I didn't think about it. I just did it. I was like 'Yes!'" said Jaheem , arms in the air, reliving the moment. "Everyone was surprised I got it on the first try."

Needless to say, archery was his favorite activity as a first-timer at Camp Walter Johnson, a 264-acre camp about 70 miles northeast of Charlotte. The woodsy Salvation Army retreat center played host this summer to Mann and other children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of Greater Charlotte.

Jaheem and others got to attend camp through scholarships from The Summer Camp Fund. The fundraising effort by The Charlotte Observer and the nonprofit Partners in Out-of-School Time helps children from low-income families throughout the Charlotte region attend outdoor camps, where they can enjoy safe, supervised time.

Camp is a chance to do things totally different from home, and meet people, according to Ciera Hopkins, 12, who also attended camp in July through the fund.

"It's fun to get to know new people," Ciera said, and "we have something new everyday."

Ciera and Jaheem had a busy five days. They peddled laps around a course in human-powered carts (harder than it looks, notes Jaheem), swam in the pool ("I've been off the high dive, like, ten times," says Ciera), braved the high-ropes course (more stressful than his perfect archery moment, admitted Mann), and enjoyed lake time on paddle boats.

Jaheem said he enjoyed the time outside, away from television and phones. He even managed to read Shakespeare's "Macbeth" during the down time, "just because."

His advice to future Camp Walter Johnson newbies? "Bring a lot of sunscreen."

Editor's Choice Videos

Join the Discussion

Charlotte Observer is pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news. Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere on the site or in the newspaper. We encourage lively, open debate on the issues of the day, and ask that you refrain from profanity, hate speech, personal comments and remarks that are off point. Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.

Terms of Service