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Camp Umoja campers learn history from the African American perspective

Posted at 6:57 PM, Jul 31, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-31 19:57:27-04

To know your future you must learn your history, that's what more than 180 children at Camp Umoja are being taught this summer.

Students from kindergarten all the way to 12th grade attend a completely free camp at All People's Church for six weeks. 

Campers do the typical things like arts and crafts, cheering, dancing, but they also learn about history from the African American perspective. Highlighting the civil rights movement, activism, and voting. This camp engages them to think towards their future.

Six-year-old Reyna Whitten says here is where she learned how to read and now wants to go to college. 

Eight grader Janyla Hunter says the summers are usually very boring. That's why she's a big fan of camp. Hunter says camp is how you stay out of trouble. Since summers are typically the time when idle children can get into trouble, many of her fellow campers agree. 

Seventh-grader Nala Johnson says this camp teaches everyone how to be themselves. She says that lesson is part of history. 

"For example if (Nelson) Mandela wasn't his self. I don't feel like we would have-he would have the impact he had back then," said Johnson. 

This is Steven Hruska's last year as a camper. He's heading into his senior year of high school. After that, college. But he says he wouldn't be who he is today without this camp and its lessons. 

"We need to change and change comes with leaders in our community, and our states, and most definitely in our country," said Hruska. 

Camp Umoja is run through the Unity In Motion organization, Executive Director Allen Ruppel says teaching children about black history is important because that's not covered in school. Not having that knowledge, he says, affects a child's development. 

"We need to change that," says Ruppel,"Come together with them and lead that generation, that grows up, will be the lead that changes these neighborhoods."

To learn more about the camp visit the website.