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Fort Jackson youths ride a paddle boat during the Child, Youth Services Summer Camp. (Courtesy Photo) (Photo Credit: Courtesy) VIEW ORIGINAL

Fort Jackson’s Child, Youth Services has partnered with the Thomas Lee Hall (Post) Library and Outdoor Recreation to offer children an opportunity to sharpen their reading while learning valuable outdoor skills during a summer camp.

The Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation’s Outdoor Recreation and post library have been collaborating on a summer program that has exposed children to kayaking, canoeing, paddle boating and archery, while also increasing their literary skills.

“The relaxation of the library and cozying up with a good book was a great offset to the outdoor events that have been happening,” said Sunny Bolton, CYS coordinator.

“We loved the continued partnership with the Outdoor Recreation team,” she added. “We developed a blueprint last summer and followed that same plan for this summer and the kids have been able to do things that they would never had done before.”

She also said they loved the “Beyond the Beaten Path” partnership with the library, where “it was so great to see school age kids reading and curling up with books instead of playing on electronic devices.”

Tyshawna Brandt, the Youth Center Director lauded the program for solidifying “our great partnerships with outdoor rec, aquatics, the movie theater, and the bowling alley. Our youth have had an amazing time going to these places – these are partnerships we will continue.

The children at the summer camp wholeheartedly agreed the experience was priceless.

For Gabriel Arroyo-Vazquez the outdoor activities were highlights of the camp.

“I like outdoor rec because we get to do the paddle boat and be out on the water and play football while we wait.”

Hazel Mulloy agreed saying, “I love outdoor Rec because I get to go out on the kayaks, and I really liked Gelly Ball. I like going to the library because I get to read and get points and earn prizes.”

Gelly Ball is like paintball, but the gel has a softer impact and leaves no residue.

The summer camp even got wet Palmetto Falls Water Park and at the pool.

Caleb Krause said he liked the water park because he got “to go on a lot of water slides and splash a lot of people with water.”

And Steven White. said he loved “going to the pool this summer – it is amazing and fun. I love hanging out in the deep end.”

For the head of the post’s CYS, the collaboration between the Fort Jackson teams made the camp memorable.

“The partnerships we have with our fellow MWR teams really supported the Jackson CYS summer camps and we are grateful for the hard work they put in so our kids could have an amazing summer,” Bolton said.