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Angels In Our Midst

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Angels in our Midst (Summer Camp)

Updated: Saturday, August 3 2013, 01:43 PM CDT
Sara Papantonio, 17, Camp Founder;  We looked at the school and we saw the children and we decided, wow, this would be such a wonderful thing for these kids to have.

With that, Gulf Breeze High School students, friends and soccer mates, Sara Papantonio and Mollie Johnson set out on eight months of fund raising and planning to bring a week-long camp to AA Dixon Charter School in Pensacola.  This summer vacation was going to be a learning experience for everyone.

Sara;  You know, it's really shocking how different a culture can be ten miles away right across the bridge. We come from such a sheltered community in Gulf Breeze that none of these kids, even my volunteers, just, they had no idea that other people's lives are not as privileged as ours.

Mollie Johnson, 16 YEAR OLD Camp Founder;  Some things they've never experienced before and it's just a great time for them.  Even on the first day, I had a girl come up to me and she's like, Can this camp be for the rest of the summer?  And I'm, just like, Oh, my gosh.  

To build a bridge between the cultural divide, Sara and Mollie raised more than $10,000 dollars for their "Kids Unlimited" Camp.  The ladies had no trouble recruiting friends to volunteer as counselors.  Then it was time to let the fun begin.

Brad Adams, 9 year old camper;  It's really fun.  I like it 'cause we're free to do activities and have fun.

Brad;  My favorite counselor is my counselor named Kiayah.

Loryn May, 8 year old camper;  It's very fun.  We come outside everyday.  One, for when we just do sports; we just play around.  And another is free time.  There's chalk over there and jump ropes.  We can do whatever we want in free time.

The 60 plus campers are served two meals and snacks everyday.  The children have been introduced to wildlife, games they've never played before, and friends they might never have had the chance to meet.  

Sara;  What a positive attitude all these children have.  Even in the roughest circumstances, they've come to camp as happy as can be, ready to have a good time, thankful for what we're doing for them.

Loryn;  We really appreciate them and they help us a lot and they teach us things and they play with us and they're just a lot of fun.

This is the last day of camp.  The children will be sent away with a supplies to start the school year, a caricature of themselves and memories ...

Brad;  It's sad because I really like the camp.  But, I'm looking forward to coming next year.

Loryn;  It's fun and it's sad too.  Well, the counselors, they'll  be gone and we don't know if we'll see them again and it's fund and it's sad at the same time.

Yes, Loryn, you will probably be seeing these counselors again and again. Sara and Mollie have plans to leave a legacy.

Mollie;  We're thinking we might start a tutoring program after school cause the kids from Gulf Breeze like, we have a tutoring program "at" the school but if we could come over here and help them out, that would be great.

Sara;  If we each year, pulled in someone younger than us to carry on the camp for the next year.  That way, we can leave our mark on this community in one way or another and that way we can bring our community together.

Angels in our Midst is brought to you by Sacred Heart Children's Hospital.

Angels in our Midst (Summer Camp)


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