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BBCF hosting legacy camp for Black Belt students

By Adam Dodson | The Selma Times-Journal

This summer, the Black Belt Community Foundation will continue its partnership with Auburn University for the week-long Black Belt Legacy Camp to better prepare high school students for their next step in life.

Hosted at Auburn from July 17-22, the Legacy Camp is for the educational benefit of five students from each of the 12 counties that make up the Black Belt. Students will come from the private and public school systems.

According to Erica Crenshaw, assistant camp director, the camp helps students affect change in their community and have a better understanding of the legacy that is left behind from previous Black Belt generations.

There will be five topics covered during the camp: leadership, team building, career exploration, community engagement and financial accountability.

The students selected to attend are immersed in the college preparation experience and are taught how to better manage their funds and their time. According to Crenshaw, the college experience they receive will prove valuable in the long run with their decision making and career paths.

“This allows students to have access to a college campus before actually setting foot on campus,” Crenshaw said. “I am a product of the Black Belt, and how great it would have been to have that opportunity to know what was available to me.”

Hoping to keep the Black Belt united for a positive future, Crenshaw understands that students from an array of different backgrounds and schools need to learn how to work together. This camp provides them with an opportunity to connect to students who otherwise they may have never come into contact with.

For many of them, it is their first time being on a college campus. For some, this could be an exhilarating chance to branch out and experience new things.

Despite the occasional home-sick student, the kids who make it through the camp leave with tools to bolster their community. Crenshaw marvels at the respect the students have for one another and the effort they put into getting the most out of the program.

“We push for students from both the public and private sectors because we feel it is important for them to get to know one another. It is amazing to see how these students work closely together. They stay in contact even after they are gone,” Crenshaw said. “They find themselves becoming friends. They realize that they may have a different skin color or a different school system, but they are really not that different.”

Although Crenshaw is the assistant camp director, she also added that the vice president of the BBCF, Rick Cook, and the board of directors were integral making the camp a reality.

Students interested in registering must send in a one-page creative writing essay about what their legacy is. This is used as part of the selection process. In addition, students must be either entering the 9th or 12th grade and must attend a school in one of the12 Black Belt Counties.

To those who are selected, transportation will be provided from the Black Belt Community Foundation’s office in Selma. Students will be housed in one of Auburn’s dormitories.