Summer camp future unclear, bright for kids

Local News

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Summer is camp season and one camp called Life Line is feeling the heat as money gets tight from year to year.

Life Line has been active for the past six years and it can cost up to $41,000 a year.

Camp officials say the city of Champaign has helped foot the bill for five years with $20,000 to $25,000; but, the value the kids walk away with has been priceless.

“Our objective this year was to teach our children that they have hope for the future,” says Camp Director, Jeanette Ellerbe.  

The future can be hard to plan for when money is tight. Some times camp administrators have to dig in their own pocket to help keep it going.

“A lot of times we lack in being able to take them where we would like to be able to take them to,” states Ellerbe.

Life Line takes the kids on educational and fun trips, but transportation and food comes at a cost.

For them, helping under privileged children mostly from the Garden Hills area in Champaign is a necessity.

“We just want to reach our children while they’re yet still young and instill good values in them and teaching them the right paths to go down and giving them love and direction,” says Ellerbe. 

That direction shows when you talk to the kids.

“They’re trying to get us off the streets so we don’t get in any trouble,” says Donatrrus Jackson.

“When they get in this camp they started acting better and they just kept getting better and better and better,” says LaDarren Dooley. 

While there is fun trips to places like WCIA, what the kids are taking away is valuable.

“It shows me that i can be things in life like when we went to the black owned businesses, it inspired me,” says Folashade Owojori. 

“When we went to the hair school with Samantha, she told us about how she struggled and that we can push through anything and we can do what we want,” says Kimberly Carroll. 

“It involves academic and I do love academics and also we go on fun trips,” says Dooley.

The kids say it isn’t just about fun trips.

“They want us to go back to school with a fresh memory of doing math and reading and writing and doing vocabulary and having fun,” says Aneia Hite.  

Winfrey “Kids should have friends should have someone to talk to and help them get their academics and keep them off the street,” says Ivan Winfrey. 

If money does dry up, life line would be in jeopardy. In speaking with the kids, they all said they would be sad to see it go. 

Champaign Schools has annually donated $3,000 along with other private business owners.

Anyone interested in helping the camp, can reach out to Pastor Lekevie Johnson at Jericho Missionary Baptist Church.

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