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Monday, August 6, 2012

DC SCORES alumni volunteer their time, hearts, and skills to summer camp

Written by Nikki Allinson
Community Outreach Coordinator

With summer camp coming to a close last week, I took the time to reflect on the summer’s best moments. Nothing has been more valuable than the alumni’s dedication to community service, a passion first introduced to them when participating in DC SCORES as young poet-athletes.

This summer there were over 15 dedicated volunteers who came out as coaches, camp counselors, and all-around DC SCORES enthusiasts. We want to take the time to personally highlight a few extraordinary individuals who went above and beyond in donating their time to our program.

Nana, a rising junior at Wilson High School
Saul, a rising senior at Bell Multicultural
Rachel, a rising junior at Wilson.

For Nana, he wanted nothing more than to "spend the summer showing kids why DC SCORES was so important to me when I was their age." As a leader on the soccer field, he took ownership of his soccer skills. He showed the campers that if you work hard enough and play with heart instead of just your mind, than you can grow into an amazing athlete.

Saul said it wasn't difficult to find an incentive to work at camp, even though his peers were being paid through our Summer Youth Employment Program. "Seeing the kids every day, and hearing them chant my name at camp was more than enough,” Saul said. “I made some great friends on staff too, friends that have lived near me this whole time and I had no idea!"

Our staff camaraderie was also one of the things Rachel looked forward to when returning to volunteer for a second summer: "This is what I love to do, and I've made great friends along the way!"

When asked what her favorite part of the camp was, she replied, "I have to choose just one?!"

Nana's favorite part was "seeing how the kids could develop better skills over the summer. I think they really did get better!"

Saul, on the other hand, said, "Seeing the program change from when I was a camper; it's really cool to see."

The interactions between these high school volunteers and elementary aged campers have been interesting to watch! By the last week of camp, Saul walked the campers from his neighborhood home day after day because their mom works in the evening. And he was invited to this neighbor’s family cookout!

Nana has become a bit of a soccer legend in these parts, counting down the days until he can follow in fellow alum Josselin's footsteps in the Nike Chance Challenge. He now has 40 young campers rooting for him all the way!

Rachel says she can't wait to come back next summer, even though the kids still remind her of that time she fell on her face during soccer practice.

To the high school students who volunteered their summers full of pool days and beach trips to make our camps the best they could be: I will always find your commitment inspiring.

To all of our volunteers this summer: we extend a gracious and sincere thank you in the form of a very, very high-five!.

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