Asia, Inc & Crown Point Ecology Center: Free Range Summer Fun

asia-inc-imageDuring the long days of summer, parents everywhere are looking for ways to keep their children busy and engaged. Crown Point Ecology Center’s Farm & Science Camp has done just that for hundreds of youth in the greater-Akron community for over twenty years. This summer, however, there was a group of children whose parents and teachers were especially happy to see them running through our acres of woods, harvesting vegetables and preparing fresh recipes.

With a little bit of creativity and collaboration from Theresa Beyerle, Chair of Crown Point’s Board of Directors, and Kim Helms, a Program Coordinator for the non-profit Asia, Inc., a group of refugee students were able to enjoy a week of outdoor exploration and fun during the first week of August. Asia, Inc. (Asian Services in Action) is an organization committed to empower and advocate on behalf of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders, including those who have come to northeast Ohio seeking a permanent home after displacement from their native country.

According to Ms. Helms, one of the primary challenges that keeps students in the Asia, Inc. ESL (English as a Second Language) program from participating in many activities is a lack of transportation. Once Theresa realized this, she accessed funding for a van and over twenty children were able to experience the joys of summer camp, most of them for the very first time.

Because of language barriers and cultural differences, Kim explained that Asia, Inc. staff members often have to provide extra support to their students on these type of excursions, which can sometimes get in the way of children fully engaging in an activity with other adults. But she was pleased to say that Crown Point’s experienced educators jumped right in, and the Asia, Inc. chaperones were able to step back and enjoy watching the children learn and play.

Favorite activities included visiting the pond, learning about bee-keeping and like many crown point visitors – they loved the chickens! Each day, the eager campers headed for the coop on arrival with a morning greeting, and later before loading into the van for home, each child made a point to “say goodbye” to their feathered friends. One student has already arranged a return visit, with the help of a neighbor who offered to bring her back with her family.

Following the success of this partnership week, and a very sunny camping season, the staff of Crown Point is eagerly anticipating future opportunities to engage with our extended community. This includes a variety of workshops, events and meeting space for group visits throughout the year.  To learn more, about getting involved, you can view our event calendar online or contact us by email at info@crownpt.org.

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