What do our campers say about their experiences?
“Camp shows you that you can do a lot of things you never thought you could do. You really feel like you accomplished something.” – Kamaya, 5th grader
“Everybody treats everybody with respect.” – David, 7th grader
“I was shy when I got there. By the time I left, I felt like I could do anything.” – Cameron, 9th grader
“You don’t even know you can do things. And then you do them.” – Cass, 7th grader
“I learned that I love nature and to respect the environment.” – Aliyah, 5th grader
“It was thrilling to become a “helper” (junior counselor) at Camp Celo because… I was helping little kids do stuff I was scared of once. Camp is a good thing for all kids, big or little, because it changes you from the inside out.” – David, 9th grader
“It was awesome. My last night was sad. I want to go back… they said I could if I keep my grades up… I will. The way it changed me was giving to others because they gave to me.” – Darius, 5th grader
“The thing I liked the most was meeting people from other places who are really different from me but like to read the same books. I made some real friends… we’re writing to each other.” – Kimaya, 6th grader
When we asked a former camper who graduated from West Charlotte High School in 2006, “What makes BICF different?” he responded: “What makes it different is you know your kids as individuals. You know who they are. It’s not like any other program I know about. Every other time… like the church sent us to camp… it was fun. . .but it was like they scooped up kids and it wasn’t like they knew me. It wasn’t because I’d earned it. Your kids know they earned it. It makes them feel good about themselves because they earned it. And they know that if they do good, they’ll get to go back… and BICF will stand by us. Kids make mistakes, but you stand by your kids because you know them. And there are different kinds of camps as you get older… That UNCC camp made me want to go to college… to know I could go to college. It’s all different. I don’t know anything else like it.”
What do parents say about our program?
“Dante really benefitted from the experience of living on a college campus. He seems more driven to go to college now.” – Cory, parent of UNCC camper
“My daughter returned more independent, mature, and responsible.” – Mother of a 5th grade camper
“My sons met people who came from all over the US, and even from different countries at camp.” – Barbara, mother of twin senior campers at Camp Celo
“I want my children to be able to do the things I never did. I want a different life for my boys and BICF helps show them new opportunities.” – Maria, mother of a 7th grade and 8th grade camper
What do school personnel and camp staff say about our program?
“My students gain an entirely new cultural awareness of how life is outside of the neighborhood they stay in. They get to have guaranteed fun for at least two weeks every summer for the next five years. They get a memory that will last them a lifetime.” – Ron’Jent Davis, CIS Coordinator at Highland Renaissance Elementary
“There are real rewards for being a good kid. This program sends a message that there is something to strive for.” – Elementary school principal
“BICF provides a vision of what is possible – a vision that can ignite their spirits and souls – and have a really dramatic impact on a child and that child’s future.” (Former Assistant Supt. for High School Curriculum & Instruction)
“When you see a camper who returns to school, with his shoulders square, it carries over into the start of the new school year.” – 4th grade school teacher
“Many BICF kids are used to having to prove themselves. . .to put on a veneer of toughness and invulnerability. . .and have a limited repertoire of conflict resolution skills. What’s new is the chance to build relationships with people who are different from themselves, in this non-threatening and non-competitive environment. They don’t have to prove themselves or fight for respect; they relax and start to develop a whole new repertoire of skills for interacting with peers and counselors.” – Gib Barrus, Director of Camp Celo
“Getting the campers together for events several times a year, provides something of a support group, giving these children the sense that it’s okay to try to be good, and that there are other kids like themselves who are also trying to achieve and be good kids. It reminds children that there are alternatives, and supports a culture of “striving,” that is not the dominant culture on the streets of many inner city neighborhoods.” – Former Assistant Supt. for Curriculum & Instruction at CMS)