Summer camp helps kids cope

June 10, 2018

 

     Ashland Community and Technical College is hosting a free summer camp for children of incarcerated parents.
     Called Summer KRUSH (Kids Rising Up through Support and Healing), the camp is for children ages 8-13 and is designed to expose children to a variety of coping skills and fun activities. The camp will run from 8 a.m.-5 p.m. July 23-27. The first four days will be at ACTC’s Roberts Drive Campus, while the fifth day will be a family day at Send Relief in Cannonsburg.
     Summer KRUSH is an extension of a program that was developed at Russell McDowell Intermediate School in 2017 by special education assistant Kristi Whittaker.
     Schools are seeing an increasing number of students who are dealing with the trauma and fallout of having one or both parents placed in jail. Though reasons for the incarcerations are varied the results are the same; kids are left to carry the burden.
     “I discovered some of the statistics around children of incarcerated parents through participation with FIVCO Re-Entry Council,” said Karen Coburn, director of ACTC Workforce Solutions. “I am driven by a desire to create change in our community and empower our area youth and adults through education. I asked if a camp would be valuable since students would lose their support system over summer break. That received a resounding yes and things snowballed from there.”
     The parents/guardians who register a child for the camp will receive a booklet of information that goes over all of the activities and provides them with further support and information to help engage or encourage the child.
Children will be divided into two age groups, 8-10 and 11-13 years old. Activities include archery, juggling, team building, financial literacy, nature hikes, music, nutrition, sign language, journaling, theater and more. All instructors are volunteers and come from ACTC, Hope Central, Boyd County Extension Office, City National Bank, Addiction Recovery Care and other healthcare and community agencies.
     Lunch will be provided each day by the Summer Feed Program, and snacks will be provided by a group of local churches.
     “The participants may realize they have parental incarceration in common, but it is not something we will be pressing or reminding them of,” Coburn said. “It is a week to have fun and learn new things in a safe and supportive environment.”
     For more information on Summer KRUSH or to register a child, contact ACTC Workforce Solutions at as_workforce@kctcs.edu or call 606-326-2072.
     The camps is sponsored by ACTC, FIVCO Re-Entry Council, Our Lady of Bellefonte Hospital, Marathon Petroleum Company, Kentucky Innovation Network and the University of Kentucky Extension Office.