July 5 was a profound and meaningful day for me. I had my first experience with ESF Dream Camp. I taught over 150 children good manners in one day and I loved every minute of it! Teaching children manners is one of my greatest passions and this day topped the “passion” scale for me. First, I must tell you about ESF Dream Camp and what an impressive operation it is. The mission of the ESF Dream Camp is to “transforms the lives of low-income, urban youth through innovative year long programs that nurture the individual, educate the mind, and inspire the spirit”. Children attending this camp program are from diverse backgrounds. Many come from single family homes and all are economically challenged. For more information, check out their website here.
The Dream Camp was held this year at Girard College. This was my first time on the campus. Girard College opened in 1848. Stephen Girard, one of the wealthiest men at the time, left his estate to educate and care for needy children. Girard is a boarding school for both boys and girls for grades 1-12. Girard College has provided an education for at-risk children for 164 years.
I was greeted by such an energetic staff from ESF. Their enthusiasm and organization was impressive and continued through the day. A camp counselor led me to my classroom and handed over my schedule. The classes were taught by grade level.
It was nice to see the children’s eagerness to learn and participate. They loved answering questions about eye contact and learning the importance of a powerful handshake. I let them draw on the blackboard with colored chalk. So many artist in the making. They learned how to set the table. We started by drawing a circle for the plate and then one by one students took a trip up to the board to draw the utensils in the correct place.
Topics for all ages included:
- Eye Contact
- Powerful handshake
- A good attitude
- How to set a table
- How to write a thank you note
The older grades learned more tips for job interviews. We talked about how to research a company, how to present yourself, what to wear to a job interview and how to follow-up.
I was then invited to lunch. What a treat! The children are served family style, a meal prepared by a chef, thanks to the Vetri Foundation for Children. Table captains are chosen from the campers and they set the table and serve the meal to their fellow campers. Large platters were filled with food. We had gazpacho, a mixed green salad with yogurt dressing, rice, sautéed shrimp and melon with a ginger sauce for dessert. The chef stepped out of the kitchen to discuss the ingredients and the menu for the day. He showed them a garden fresh tomato, cucumber and eggplant. My meal was delicious. The children loved every bite.
ESF is achieving their mission,which is to change the world, one child at a time. Heartwarming.
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Thanks for reading.