Friday, August 5, 2011


Camp High Hopes is a subsidized summer day camp funded through the YMCA's We Build People campaign. Jessica Russell and Sharlene Provilus, director and head counselor at the A.E. Finley Camp High Hopes, said, “We should do this.” So they did.

August 4 at the YMCA Association's Resource Center, two dozen Camp High Hopes campers, dressed sharply in business attire, met the eyes of college recruiters from ten local colleges and universities. They put out their hands for a handshake and then went with purpose to the business of talking education, college education.
Camp High Hopes College Day

Over the seven previous weeks of Camp High Hopes, Sharlene and her co-counselor, A.J. Johnson, coached and evaluated each of these students on etiquette, listening skills, leadership and an entire menu of skills for success.

The college reps reviewed the evaluations and grade point averages and then interviewed each student. The conversations were real and the students left with an envelope marked either ACCEPTED or DEFERRED.

The emotions were also real. Some students pumped the air and celebrated, others sat in serious discussions with their friends talking about the need to get higher grades to make their dream school a possibility in the future.

The whole experience really was a dream come true.
A dream that Jessica and Sharlene and A.J. made happen. Their vision has put a target in the future for these two dozen middle schoolers and that target is acceptance into college.

"It was like watching the light go on in two dozen pairs of eyes and with that light, a shot was fired at a target," said Patti Bryce, Finley's Outreach Director. "If you were lucky enough to be there, you know how I feel."

We cannot say thank you enough to these leaders!

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