On June 19 he begins his third Lift Camp at Weldon Elementary School, a camp which mixes educational tutoring opportunities with field trips and recreational outings.
Martin is still in the process of enrolling children in the camp and on June 12 between 5 p.m. and 6 p.m. will have an signup hour at Hampton Inn in Roanoke Rapids. Registration is $15 and includes the camps, meals and field trips.
The camps will run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. Monday through Thursday and field trips will be held every Friday. The second week of camp will be exclusively field trips.
An end of camp celebration will be held July 1 from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at River Falls Park in Weldon. The camps are for children aged 6 to 18.
(For more information contact Martin at 252-678-3803)
Martin sees the camps as a way to give the children activities during the summer months when they are away from the structure of the school day. “When they go home many are left with no adult supervision. For some it is the only place they get the guidance they need,” he said in a recent interview. “A lot of kids see so much devastation. In my talking with them, some of them witness crime that takes place in the community, some of them are around negative things all the time and some have a more positive atmosphere. We try to get some of the ones who have things on more positive side going with those who may have experienced more negative things at no fault of their own and we hope that the positive influences can alter some of the aspects of the negative.”
As a former Boys & Girls Club CEO and as the founder of Project Lift, Martin said, “I’ve come to discover that most kids just want to be a part of something. Why not make it a positive atmosphere?”
The days will be filled with math camps, reading and writing camps and learning about gang violence through the Halifax County Sheriff’s Office. Campers will learn about fire safety through the Weldon Fire Department, healthy lifestyles through the Halifax County Public Health System and the judicial system through the Northampton County Clerk of Courts office. “We’re reaching out to successful young people in the area who can relate to what our kids see on a daily basis in a hope that it will empower them to tap into greatness.
There will swimming trips, movie trips, museum trips and to the bird sanctuary at Sylvan Heights
Martin is appreciative of the school system allowing the elementary school to be used as the camp site. “They’re one of my main supporters. They give us the school bus for transportation and the facility .”
At his first Lift Camp Martin saw between 20 to 25 campers. In the second year it grew to 60 children and Martin believes this year’s installment will see at least 60 children.
In the future, Martin said he wants to expand the camps to other areas. “I want to see my vision adopted by other communities.”
He wants to see the concept grow to having a Lift Center which can offer resources for single parents, job placement, after school programs and male mentoring opportunities.
“When it first started,” he said, “I operated it on $40 and spent money out of my own pocket. I’ve gained major support from different businesses throughout the county. In my reaching out to the community via Facebook, many individuals and organizations have stepped up to the plate and started doing sponsorships for scholarships for our members. The vision is becoming clear when everyone is of one accord and willing to pitch in to make sure our young people in the valley are successful.”