ROTARY CLUB OF BIRMINGHAM IN PARTNERSHIPS TO PROVIDE
CAMP SOUTH HAMPTON
Immediately following the April 27th tornadoes, the members of the 586-member Rotary Club of Birmingham, many of whom were responding individually, felt that the Club should reach out to its neighbors in Birmingham who had been harmed by the recent tornados.
Club President Charlie Perry established a committee of members representing several areas of expertise to work to determine how the club might best use its resources to help with pressing, unmet intermediate and long-term needs.
The committee included the mayor in charge of the county disaster relief program, the CEO of the Jefferson County Department of Health, the Superintendent of the Birmingham City Schools, two construction company executives, the President of the Community Foundation of Greater Birmingham, the Club’s Vice President of Community Service, the chairman of the Rotary Club of Birmingham Foundation, an insurance company executive and local civic leaders.
The committee decided on four primary objectives:
1. We wanted our efforts focused on Birmingham. The Jefferson County Health Department suggested three sites where we could be most productive, and we chose Pratt City.
2. As a club, we are committed to education and children, and wanted a project that would protect and improve the health, education and emotional stability of the children harmed by the tornado.
3. We wanted our project to provide real assistance to the parents of the children in order to allow them time and peace of mind to rebuild their lives.
4. And we wanted to help the community without interfering with or duplicating the work of the first responders, FEMA or other relief organizations.
Camp South Hampton emerged as the favored project.
Camp South Hampton, a combination reading and activity-based summer camp for children ages 5-13 at the South Hampton Elementary School in Pratt City, is a joint venture between the Rotary Club of Birmingham and the Birmingham City Schools, working alongside many valuable partners, such as:
1. Harbert Corporation's HERO Fund
2. Coca Cola
3. Golden Flake
4. Hibbett Sports
5. Concepts and Associates
7. Highland UMC
8. Full Moon Barbecue
9. The Birmingham Zoo
10. The Birmingham Art Museum
11. The Sloss Furnaces
12. The Botanical Gardens
13. Vulcan Park and Museum
14. The McWane Center
15. Congressman Spencer Bachus
17. Focus First
18. The UAB School of Dentistry
19. The Cultural Alliance
20. Dr. Henry Panion and Audiostate 55.
22. The Crisis Center
23. Girls Inc
24. The Birmingham Police Department
25. The Birmingham Public Library
26. SONY Corporation
28. Morgan-StanleySmith Barney
The State of Alabama and the City of Birmingham are providing nutritious, hot breakfasts and hot lunches daily.
Dental and vision screenings and Counseling services will be provided for the campers during the camp (5 days per week for 6 weeks). Parents may drop their children off as early as 7:30 a.m. and pick them up as late as 5:30 p.m. daily.
Classroom counselors have been hired from a terrific pool of high school and college students, most having Pratt City roots.
Coaches and teachers have been hired from a loving and capable group of full time teachers in the Pratt City schools who know and love the children.
One thing the Birmingham Rotary Club learned in the process of developing this project was that the children who lived in the path of the tornadoes – and who are dispersed around the city, many of whom suffered a loss, wanted to get back to their own schools, especially to their teachers and their friends. That consistency is important and will be maintained by the professional teachers and coach hired for Camp South Hampton from the set of teachers they already know and love.
A real benefit to this camp, in addition to providing a comforting, fun and safe environment to the children of Pratt City, is that the parents no longer had a daycare to look after their children. The Rotary Club of Birmingham is very happy to be able to help the families of Pratt City through Camp South Hampton as a solid, 6-week option for summertime, supervised care. With the help of our partners, Camp South Hampton is safe; it is going to be fun; and it will be nourishing in more ways than one. It will provide at least 204 children, hopefully more, with activities in art, sports, reading and play. It will also provide them with exciting and educational field trips.
It will offer each camper the opportunity to build a permanent, community garden in a plot of land next to the school, and will provide them with a reading program that will make a difference. And, the camp will be offered free of charge to the children, parents and the School District.
Rotarian and community volunteers will participate in the gardening, the reading program, the arts, the sports and the special days like field trips and Olympic Day. Rotarians invite everyone who wishes to participate to send contributions to Rotary Club of Birmingham Foundation/ 2019 4th Avenue North/ Birmingham, AL 35203 and please note the memo line with Tornado Recovery. IF there are unused funds, they will be applied toward the club’s long-term tornado recovery project which will benefit the children and parents of Pratt City in an educational project.
Rotary Theme 2015-2016:
Ravi Ravindran - President, Rotary International
Pat Cross- District Governor, District 6860
Rob Couch - President, Birmingham Rotary Club
Fred McCallum - President-Elect, Birmingham Rotary Club