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MARA Partners, Positive Outlook and South Bend Parks, hosted an impactful winter break camp

Over the past winter break, Positive Outlook, in collaboration with the South Bend Parks, hosted a camp filled with activities for everyone. The winter camp ran for eight full days with over 35 participants in the Hal Lindsey Gymnasium in the MLK Recreation Center. Thanks so much to Stefanie from the Parks for making the gym available for everyone to use! Organized and hosted by Positive Outlook, the camp also included activities run by various Michiana Athletic and Recreation Association (MARA) members like the South Bend Bears and Start Where You Are.

Each day, campers practiced basketball while also trying their hand at new activities like lacrosse, chess, martial arts and yoga / meditation. Coach Michael Poole of Positive Outlook ran basketball drills and lead skill development. Mr. Craig Clark taught a black history class which included lessons on Kwanzaa and Swahili and concluded with a Karamu, or celebratory feast. Ms. Kate Ludick and Mr. Craig Clark lead the planning and coordination of the camp.

The campers loved having access to new sports with a team of volunteer coaches supporting them. The camp was a great opportunity for young people to spend some time together safely. The camp organizers encouraged the campers to invite as many friends to join as possible. This old-school word-of-mouth tactic tripled the anticipated participants. A great demonstration of the power of community!

When asked about the importance of this winter camp, Coach Markie said, “You know the kids just need something to do. This year they’re not in school, they just need somewhere to go, somewhere they can be kids. It was cool to come out and watch them play basketball and learn new skills.” The winter camp opened opportunities for young people to have fun and feel like they have a safe space to be themselves. This is especially important during the past year because Covid-19 restrictions have significantly impacted access to after-school programming.

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