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CareerSource kicks off registration for leadership camp, summer internships

Summer activities got started a little early this year at the Washington High School Gymnasium complex.

There, on Saturday, dozens of children and their parents gathered to blow bubbles, eat hot dogs, enjoy the warm weather and register for the 12th annual CareerSource Gulf County summer leadership camp.

The day camp, which is open to youth ages 4 to 14, is free of cost and includes activities such as playtime, field trips, crafts, outdoor recreation, organized activities, nutritious meals and more. This year, the camp will be held from June 12 to July 21.

But according to CareerSource Director Lee Ellzey, the camp’s main goal is not only to provide a safe and fun environment for local children while school is out, but also to help local students retain the knowledge they gained during the prior school year.

“The (Jessie Ball) DuPont Foundation provided us with funding about 12 years ago with the intent of having the kids and young adults to have a place to go during the summer,” Ellzey said. “But not just a fun place where kids shoot basketball for six or eight hours, but where they also have some learning components during the day.”

“There’s reading that each age group will participate in that’s obviously age appropriate. There are math skills that they will be addressing. We’re not trying to teach kids new skills, but we’re trying to make sure they don’t lose what they’ve learned while they’re out of school.”

In recent years, the camp has become increasingly popular, organizers said, with over 100 children participating.

Last year, there were a few local children who had to be turned away after the program reached capacity.

This is why CareerSoucre decided to host the Registration Kick-Off event last weekend, Ellzey said.

“Last year we just did not have capacity space for some kids, and so we wanted to give everybody a chance, an equal chance, to know that enrollment has started. You can start signing your kids up now.”

“We don’t like to turn children away, so we’re hoping people will enroll their children early so we can wrap our heads around what resources we need.”

For the county’s older youth, CareerSource is accepting applications for paid interns aged 15 through 24.

Interns will serve in summer camp positions as well as in several roles throughout the community.

CareerSource is seeking interns who are motivated, have residence in Gulf County, are not in school over the summer and can work the schedule set by the employer.

Interns will be required to attend a training from June 5 to June 9 before receiving either a full-time or a part-time placement. They will be paid via a weekly stipend, and they will attend professional development courses every Friday.

The goal of both the summer camp and the internship program, representatives from CareerSource say, is to help Gulf County youth master the technical and career-readiness skills required to be successful in the workplace.

In addition to the Jessie Ball DuPont Foundation, the camp and internship programs are also funded by CareerSource Gulf Coast, Battelle and the City of Port St. Joe.

For more information about the summer camp or to enroll your child for the program, please contact 8507301440 or visit CareerSource at 307 Peters Street in Port St. Joe.

If you are interested in being an intern, contact Lianna Sagins at 8507301440 ext. 8131 or email lsagins@careersourcegc.com.