As she was preparing for summer and activities for students, Adams Elementary School, Coon Rapids, social worker Amy Carroll found that scholarships were available for students to attend camp.
But there was one problem; there was no way to get them there.
Knowing this was a barrier to giving kids a camp experience, Carroll decided to take the camp to them.
She developed the Pondale Summer Fun Program, a 10-session camp featuring reading, math games and crafts at Pondale Apartments in Coon Rapids.
In addition to Adams, students in the apartment complex and surrounding neighborhood also attend Morris Bye and Hamilton elementary schools; the camp was open to all.
A core group of 35 students registered for the camp, but Carroll said at times up to 60 students came for the 1 to 3 p.m. camp.
Carroll hopes the students had a good experience.
She received funding from the Adams Parents’ Advisory Group and Coon Rapids Lions Club to purchase books, games and athletic equipment.
Diane Genung, the Community Education programmer for Adams and University Avenue elementary schools, led students through arts and crafts, and members of Riverdale Church, who work with Adams Elementary through the Anoka-Hennepin School District, Faith and Community Partnership, supplied volunteers to read and play games with students.
According to Carroll, she could not have done the camp without the faith partnership.
Scott Wilcox, Riverdale’s children’s ministry pastor, said this is the first year the church has partnered with Adams.
Members were looking for a way to better connect with the community and were introduced to Carroll, he said.
The summer camp offered church members an opportunity to volunteer during the five-week camp, according to Wilcox.
“We read to children, listened to children read, played math games, helped with crafts and planned activities and games,” Wilcox said.
In addition to adult volunteers, he said there was “a strong group of middle school students that attend Riverdale who volunteered.”
After the summer camp, Riverdale members turned their focus to collecting school supplies for Adams students.
Last Christmas, church members donated presents for families and at the end of the school year, church members helped teachers clean their classrooms.
Wilcox said Riverdale has enjoyed its partnership with Adams.
“It has given us opportunities to serve our community in practical ways and has been very rewarding for everyone who has volunteered,” he said.
“The congregation of Riverdale is excited to get involved in service projects and see how just a little time and effort can make a difference.”