Summertime meant one thing to Delaine and me when we were children – walking around barefooted, catching fireflies and using bad grammar.

There were standards about footwear during the school year, but not during the summer. Catching fireflies meant that Delaine and I were in Newark, New Jersey visiting one of our favorite cousins and my mother’s namesake, Rosena, who is just a few weeks younger than I am.

And using bad grammar? Well let me explain. Daddy, a Methodist minister, was an eloquent speaker, and a great writer. Mother was an English teacher and the winner of oratorical contests when she was a student at Coulter Memorial Academy in Cheraw, South Carolina. Our home in Sumter had a built-in library, and mother and daddy made sure that the public library was our second home when we lived in Florence. If you think that using bad grammar was acceptable in our home, you would be delusional except for this caveat. Delaine and I were little hellions during summer vacations with our cousins, so, just for fun, when our parents could not hear us, we delighted in violating the rules of grammar grievously.

But summertime is not just for laying back and being hellions. It’s also for enrichment.

Fast forward to the summer of 2017, two weeks ago. Delaine and I were assisting with registration at Camp Blend Out for Performing Arts which is directed by Columbia’s acclaimed recording artist, Regina Skeeters. Over 60 children and youth were exposed to vocal training, percussion, piano, step, dance, public speaking, interviewing techniques, etiquette and lifeskill lessons. One of the guests during Camp Blend Out was Senator Mia McLeod. She did not lecture the young people; instead, she allowed campers to interview her.

The week-long camp concluded with a showcase of the performing arts which was witnessed by a standing room audience of parents and supporters including WLTX’s Darci Strickland, whose three lovely daughters were camp participants.

Why am I mentioning Camp Blend Out in My Sister and Me column?  I want to remind you that youth have so much potential. In just five days, Delaine and I witnessed growth, maturity, talent, and confidence among the camp  – unlocked throughout because someone invested in our youth?

Certainly, parents and guardians, allow your youth to experience the barefoot, firefly moments of summer. It’s a necessary part of growing up. But make sure they enjoy educational and cultural experiences too. Students can lose much that has been taught during the school year if virtually nothing is done over the summer to reinforce skills.

Contact Regina Skeeters at 803.537.1648 or [email protected] to reserve a spot for your child in Camp Blend Out 2018. Delaine and I are calling Regina, today, to see about enrolling our godchild, Jesse, and us’n ain’t joking. We ‘gunna do that.

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