BCSD, Girl Scouts partnership provides opportunity for homeless or at-risk families to get out of 'stuck position'
Published, Saturday, February 10, 2018
Children attending the trip learned various outdoor skills, including but not limited to archery. (Photo by Ann Lyons)
Organizers and volunteers behind a camping trip for a homeless family in Berkeley County believe the weekend event could be life-changing.
Berkeley County School District and Girls Scouts of Eastern South Carolina began planning the event in August with the goal of exposing at-risk children and their families to things they had never experienced.
Elaine Swain, BCSD coordinator of programs for at-risk students said she believes the February 2-4 trip to Sandy Ridge Campground in Bennettsville motivated a mother to make improvements. She said it definitely grabbed the attention of the children.
"We really made a good, productive weekend for these kids," Swain said. "But it’s not just a program for the girls. It’s for the entire family."
One of the children became a Girl Scout at the end of the weekend and Swain hopes that support will continue to benefit the child.
"I think the fact that one of the children was introduced to Girl Scouting and loved it is a success story to tell," Swain said.
This event was the first time BCSD and Girls Scouts of Eastern South Carolina pulled together to host such an event, but the hope is the groups will offer at least one camping trip for at-risk students and families each year moving forward. Swain said the whole idea behind it is to get those families out of their day-to-day and provide them some reprieve.
The Girl Scouts provide the campground, food and transportation for participating families. BCSD and volunteers provide camping supplies, clothing and hygiene products.
"It takes a village, for real," Swain said. "The moment that the mother came out of that van, she was terrified. She was taken completely out of her element. They hadn’t been anywhere else. To take them out of that motel room and put them out into nature — it was an amazing experience."
Swain said she hopes that family now finds motivation to move from that "stuck position."
"The more exposure that the kids get to opportunities like this, the more potential they see — even the parents," she said.