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BBCF hosts constructive camp

Last week, students from all 12 counties in the state’s Black Belt region gathered at the campus of Auburn University to participate in the 7th annual Black Belt Legacy Camp.

The students, rising 9th – 12th graders, were given the opportunity to attend the camp, with no cost to them, by writing an essay entitled, “What is your Legacy?”

“We work with the counselors at the different schools and partner with many community based organizations to help get the word out to the students,” said Black Belt Community Foundation President Felecia Lucky.

Luck said that BBCF works hard to give students equal opportunity rather than strictly selecting only students with excellent grades.

“There may be a student who may not be a straight-A student but could still really benefit from the camp,” said Lucky. “We try to make sure we get a good mixture of students.”

Participants selected from Dallas County included Taniya Dixon, Mar’Sheunta Gunn, Alysse May, Jon Anthony Sanders and Taliyah Smith.

The summer camp, hosted by the BBCF and Auburn’s Center for Educational Outreach and Engagement, gives students the opportunity to explore a college environment and attend workshops focusing on leadership, team building, community engagement, career exploration and financial literacy.

As part of the career exploration portion of the camp, student had the opportunity to visit different programs at Auburn including architecture, nursing and veterinary medicine.

Lucky believes this opportunity is helpful in helping students figure out what they may want to do should they peruse a higher education. She used herself as a personal example in helping the students figure out a career path based on their personal interests.

“When I was young I wanted to become a dentist,” said Lucky. “But my least favorite subject was science…so I didn’t need to be a dentist. At that time, I didn’t have direction to know what I would or wouldn’t be good at, so I love that they have the chance to know that.”

One of Lucky’s favorite aspects of the program is how it transforms the young people who get to attend.

Lucky described a young man who attended the program who, upon entering, was quite introverted and hesitant about interacting with the other students. According to Lucky, by the time the camp had come to an end the student was much more outgoing and had made a close group of friends.

“I think that that young man is now going to be much more aggressive in pursuing what’s good for him,” said Lucky.

Lucky added that many students not only finish the camp as better individuals, but are ready to better their communities as well.

“Some of them end up giving back, they want to support this camp because the camp helped them,” said Lucky. “I think they also become advocates for the Black Belt. They become mentors to students who are in a place thinking, ‘This is as big as my world is ever going to be’. Those students then see their success and realize that they too can succeed.”