Inside Kairos Services, double doors opened, and children ran excitedly to a large table set up with green and gold pawns. Rather than video games and iPads, these children are excited about chess, just one of the disciplines taught during Kamp KSI.
Kairos, a nonprofit that works to help people become self-sufficient through employment, hosted an open house for the camp, which is in its second year. The camp for children ages 6-12 teaches an array of disciplines to foster critical thinking, creativity and collaboration. Herbert Lester, executive director, says the goal is to prepare children to be globally competent, which will help them secure jobs and become model citizens.
"The United States has fallen in academics compared to other countries. Our children must learn skills and competencies to compete with students from across the globe," Lester says. "Kamp KSI equips our campers to think critically, problem solve creatively and work collaboratively through fun activities that children enjoy."
Sixty openings are available for children from all areas in the city. Camp runs May 27 – August 1. During open house, parents received information about the camp, including testimonials from former campers and instructors on what to expect with this year's experience.
Chuck O'Bannon, videographer and former on-air personality, is eager to share videography skills with campers. Last year, they documented their time in the camp on camera, interviewing Kairos staff and community leaders.
In addition, campers will receive golf lessons onsite, learning to putt and drive the ball. Golf is not only a top sport, but teaches several life skills, including patience, decision-making and integrity. Weekly, they will practice at a local golf facility, sponsored by the City of Memphis.
Miriam Romero, who teaches English as a Second Language, will be teaching Spanish during the camp. "I'm excited to be teaching campers Spanish," she says. "Learning a Second Language is a treasure that will follow its owner everywhere."
As parent Melody Scott talked with Kairos staff, her seven year-old son was learning the fundamentals of chess. She says prior to attending the open house, he wasn't interested in the game.
"He likes everything," she says, "The golf, chess – just some of the educational aspects. I want him to retain some of that. I'm excited."
(For more information on Kamp KSI or to register online, visit www.kairosmemphis.org.)