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Kids of prison inmates enjoy summer camp

Updated:
Children with a parent in prison are seven times more likely to end up there themselves than other kids. Improving that statistic is the purpose of Camp Start, a summer camp for teens with a parent in prison.

News on 6 reporter Rick Wells went to Wagoner County to find out more about how it works.

This is an exercise in team work, building a tower out of tooth picks and gum drops. The team with the tallest tower at the end of the time limit wins. This is Camp Start, it's for young people 12 to 15 years old who have a parent in prison, and a primary objective of the camp is fun.

Camp Start director Rev Judy Gann: "To allow them to come and have fun, and just be kids and get away from their situation if they need to, some of them are in tough situations." It also exposes them to leadership skills they can use for a lifetime. Camp Start is an extension of Camp New Hope for kids 8-11, many of these campers started there.

Aston Milner is in his 8th year, next year he'll be a counselor. "They've helped me so I can return the favor by helping them." Ronnie Quinn is a counselor this year, he likes helping the younger kids. "Even when I was a camper I wanted to be a counselor, it's even better."

Brandy Terry has come back for five summers, she's learned to swim, ride horses and other skills she can use. "You learn to be alot more supportive of other people."

Is a week enough to influent these young lives? Camp officials think so. Judy Gann: "Because these kids know that somebody cared enough to spend a week of time with them."

Spending time listening, talking, making new friends and having fun. Camp Start and Camp New Hope are operated with private donations through the Episcopal Diocese of Oklahoma. If you'd like more information contact Judy Gann at 918-582-4128.
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