L&G Camp, 21st Century team up for week of youth character enrichment

Published 5:08 pm Friday, June 23, 2017

Dozens of elementary school kids sat on the floor of the Bainbridge Coliseum Friday morning, quietly listening to a man wearing a shirt that read L&G Camp give them instructions on their next activities.

They listened intently, and when the counselor elicited a response, the children roared with laughter or clapped.

“You see how well this works,” said Estella Bryant, director for the Decatur County Schools 21st Century program.

The kids were polite, only speaking when they were called upon. That’s part of the mission the L&G camp brings to the communities they visit every summer.

The L&G Camp is based around character enrichment. Started in 2005, Lee Henry and her husband, Greg Manning, travel around the state and the rest of the country to promote enrichment activities for young minds. Skills that will benefit the kids for life, such as respecting authority, overcoming obstacles and chasing big dreams, are all taught and developed throughout the week-long program.

To make it fun, Henry mixes in basketball and other athletic activities that will help drive her messages home.

“We teach character education throughout the course of the program,” Henry said. “They get a book, they get a T-shirt, we get a lot of prizes to motivate them. We are really basically here to talk about the value of education, overcoming obstacles, dreaming big dreams, all of those things that will make a difference.”

Bryant, who spends the school year organizing academic assistance for students like tutoring, loves how the L&G Camp will make the kids more well-rounded when they return to the classrooms in the fall.

“(Character enrichment) is a big focus because that’s one of the characteristics our students should possess in order to succeed in the real world, and especially in the classrooms,” Bryant said. “It encourages them to express themselves, to talk, to problem solve, to do critical thinking.”

Henry, a basketball coach for more than 30 years and a former Tennessee player, said she was grateful for the support that has come from 21st Century and Bryant. The 21st Century program has teamed up with L&G Camp for the past three years.

Counselors, many of them local familiar faces for the kids to connect with, spend the week exercising and playing basketball with the kids in smaller pods. They take short breaks throughout the morning to sit down and discuss character education.

This week’s L&G Camp was available for students grades first through fourth.