Rodro and Project Learn La-Terre collaborated in July of 2012 to create Camp Barefoot. The program provided two weeks of free summer day camp fun for a bunch of bayou kids who otherwise may never have had the thrill of a summer camp experience.
Project Learn La-Terre, the non-profit organization I co-founded with community activist/community godmother Natalie Bergeron provided the home base for operations. The non-profit located in Houma, Louisiana, was seeded with money generated by my children's book, Goldysocks & the 5 Bayous. The book, which I researched and wrote about the very neighborhood the kids lived in, also provided a foundation for daily camp activities.
Top of the agenda, art, and science. Each art and science session reflected Southern Louisiana's rich native American and immigrant culture. They addressed some of the problems faced by the coastal estuary that their lives are so closely tied to. I simply pulled topics such as salt-water intrusion, eutrophication, hurricanes, and the BP Oil Spill right from the book's pages and turned them into interactive science lessons supported by art activities. The rest of the day was rounded off with two meals (which in many cases filled a serious nutritional void), team games, group activities, music and dancing, and some free time.
The first week was designated for a younger group and the second week for an older group. However, we managed to mix and match to accommodate the needs of the children and their parents as they arose. When all was said and done, we managed to provide 40 children an exciting, fun, enriching, and educational summer day camp experience.
I was thrilled to have the opportunity to provide a joyful experience for kids whose lives had been devastated by both Hurricane Katrina and the BP Oil Spill.
I want to say thank you to Natalie Bergeron for inviting me to be a part of this special Project Learn La-Terre program and to Diane Sasser for all her help. I especially want to thank Phia LeBoeuf Kreamer for going above and beyond her job description from the first meal to the last hug goodbye.
Finally, a big bayou shout to all the kids!