For the seventh year, Marcus Bass is looking forward to another summer of helping students prepare for the future through Camp Lead-Up.
The 2017 Summer Camp Lead-Up Student Leadership Development Institute is scheduled for July 17 through July 21, at Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) in Charlotte. Its purpose is to help youths become leaders and grow academically.
“I’m excited,” said Bass, a leader and organizer for the program, which helps students transitioning to high school. “This is a project for kids in Sampson County and rural counties to get a chance to see how they measure up against their peers in other parts of the state. We’ll be able to infuse a lot of life lessons and enriching activities that students don’t get in a typical classroom setting from August to May.”
Some of the activities involve leadership development, conflict resolution and team building. Bass said there’s an opportunity for participants to learn about different careers. One of many highlights will be a visit to the NASCAR facility in Charlotte.
“NASCAR is big regardless of where you live in North Carolina,” Bass said. “Sometimes folks think the careers are limited to racing. But there’s other opportunities ranging from engineering to architectural design. We’re excited about partnering with them this year.”
Camp officials are also looking forward to working with the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department’s academy, which is one the largest in the region. Bass said the academy is interested in meeting with the students, especially now with conflicts and community relation matters in the United States. Through the interactions, Bass hopes students learn about possible future careers.
“It’s putting it in a different light than what they may see on the surface with policing,” Bass said.
Bass also expressed how the camp will help students deal with different political and social changes.
“I think there’s no better time to have Camp Lead-Up than right now,” he said. “I’m excited to see how they receive all these things and prepare for a future. We’re really going to need them now more than ever to begin to look at the world differently and operate with each other in a new way.
“I’m excited to see what will happen in the future of these young people and for the future of the city and this country,” Bass said.
Camp Lead-Up began in Sampson County at First Baptist Church and years later, the camp was held at Sampson Community College and Wake Technical Community College, before it was hosted by JCSU. The organization is interested in working with students beyond the summer camp.
“As soon as the students get done with the camp program in July, we’re going to be working with Sampson County Schools and Clinton City Schools to figure out how to continue to engage these students throughout their high school experience,” Bass said.
The program works with school districts and churches to select students who’ll benefit from the program. Interested students and parents can receive additional information online at www.campleadup.org. The organization is also seeking donations, which can made through the website or at First Baptist Church, 900 College St., Clinton.
Bass showed gratitude for the financial support from the community.
“We have never had to offer a tuition of any cost for students to participate in the camp and we never will, as long as the community keeps seeing the necessity to invest in our students,” Bass said. “We’re just excited to continue the vision.”