JOHN CHAPPELL: Northern Moore Summer Camp Expands
"The summer camp -- a long-standing program by the Northern Moore Family Resource Center (NMFRC) -- is thriving this year with over 50 children enrolled and 10 counselors employed," says Lilly Loughner, administrative assistant to Executive Director Clare Ruggles. "The camp is held out of First Baptist Church on Hemp Street every Monday through Thursday from 9 a.m. until 2 p.m., and will run until August 10."
The NMFRC in Robbins plays host to a variety of agencies all aimed at improving access to Foothills families -- monthly meetings of Northern Moore Tomorrow, weekly hours of Habitat for Humanity of Moore County, supports CARE and DARE programs taught in the schools, and offers daily needs transportation within a 30-mile radius for any area resident.
The center offers occupational and speech therapy for children, a job skills program teaching basic computer skills to help people find jobs, and an Adult Literacy Program for any adult in northern Moore County who wants to learn to read. Its Christmas Assistance Program provides needy children with gifts and clothing at holiday time.
NMFRC began with a $75,000 grant from the General Assembly, meant to cover three years.
Now in its 11th year, NMFRC continues to expand on its original purposes of mobilizing public and private community resources so as to help children and families in need, assisting families in achieving economic independence and self-sufficiency, enhancing every child's development and ability to attain academic and social success, and ensure that child's successful movement from early childhood programs and child care to the public schools.
From the first, the stated mission of the center has been "to encourage the development of strong families, healthy children, and caring communities by matching resources with needs in northern Moore County."
To that end, NMFRC started its free summer youth day camp several years ago. That camp grew from supervised days in the park to the much expanded program offered this summer.
Its theme is drawn from the ancient primitive myth of a world made from four "elements" -- earth, water, wind and fire.
"Kids in Northern Moore County are having 'Fun with the Four Elements' this summer," Loughner says. "Along with the new 'Four Elements' theme, the NMFRC has incorporated a variety of field trips into the summer camp program."
On Thursday, campers will visit Luck's Ware pottery, see earth spun into pottery at the potter's hands, wet with water, shape the clay before hardening it in the fire of a kiln. There, they will enjoy pottery painting activities as well.
"On Tuesdays, campers watch the morning movie at Sandhills Cinemas followed by swimming at Park Pool in Southern Pines," Loughner says. "Educational trips and activities also are scheduled each week dealing with the four elements. So far, campers have planted seedlings, cooked S'mores, played balloon games, and cooled off with the Robbins Fire Department."
Those morning movies are part of a regular free kid's summer movie camp offered by All Star Cinemas every year, with 12 weeks of free features every Tuesday and Thursday morning at 9:30. Remaining shows this summer include "Robots" (July 25 and 27), "Because of Winn Dixie" (Aug. 1 and 3), "Hoodwinked" (Aug. 8 and 10), "Nanny McPhee" (Aug. 15 and 17) and "Curious George" (Aug. 22 and 24).
Next week, on Aug. 1, National Weather Service meteorologist Jeff Orrock may help these young campers understand the wind and how the climate of the earth is shaped. The following week, they'll enjoy a trip to Pinehurst Beach Club for cookout and swimming.
The final day, Aug. 10, features a lunch with community leaders.
"We hope that all the activities we've planned will provide the campers with fun experiences they would not otherwise have this summer," Ruggles says.
John Chappell can be reached at 783-5841 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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