Recreation center offers kids more than sports

Recreation center offers kids more than sports
August 04
06:05 2016



During the summer many recreation centers hold camps for the neighborhood children.  For many of the campers, most if not all of their time is spent playing sports.  The W.R. Anderson Center wanted to break from the norm by hosting a Poetry Slam Thursday, July 28, for their campers.

The Poetry Slam was the idea of Anderson Center employee Betty Wallace.  She stated the idea came to her back in the spring as they were reading a story named “Poetry Slam.”  The book was about competition and the power of words, so the idea just blossomed from there.

“I think the poetry slam was outstanding. I think all of the skills we have been working on this whole time were demonstrated and I am very proud of all of them,” Wallace said.

Bryant McCorkle, director of W.R. Anderson, said, “It was a great event and with this being Mrs. Wallace’s baby, we just worked together to make a great event. Next year we are going to bring it back and now that we have some experience, we can work out the kinks.  I also want to get some more sponsors so we are able to do more for the kids.”

According to Wallace, Carver High alum and current San Diego Charger Chris Hairston donated the funds for the poetry slam to take place.  Hairston as a child would come and play at the Anderson center as well as participate in the camps. With the amount donated from Hairston, first, second and third place winners in each division were able to receive a cash prize.

“The Anderson Center provided me a haven for fun during the summertime when I was a kid,” said Hairston.  “Having a safe, productive and positive environment in your own community for the children is paramount to their growth and development. I’m glad I could do the little I could to be a part of that.”

The kids were separated into three divisions based on age – 6-7 years old, 8-9 years old, and 10-12 years old.  The event started with the camp cheerleaders performing for the parents and loved ones in attendance.  They were followed by the camp ballet dancers and drummers.

There were a broad range of topics that the children explored during the poetry slam. Shoes, music, dance, food and even the Black Lives Matter movement were all subjects of some the children’s poems.  The children diligently prepared for the competition and were excited with the results.

The judges had tough decisions to make in determining a winner in every division.  There were five categories to score each contestant in and a first, second and third place winner was named for each division.

Trenton Dozier, second place winner from division three, stated he came up with the topic of his poem because he was frustrated with the food selections at his school. Justin Wallace, the division two winner, was inspired to write his poem because he likes Emmitt Smith and noticed his big shoes.  Jordyn Curtis, first place division three, said she is a spiritual dancer at United Metropolitan Missionary Baptist Church and she loves to dance.  Her response when asked about winning first place was emphatically saying“I’m very happy!”

The parents were pleased with the performances of their children. Mary Dean, grandmother of division three third place winner Bryce Baker, stated “It’s great because he is always involved in activities, so we are very proud of him.”

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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