A local arts summer camp for young people has doubled in size in just one year. The Movement BE camp runs programs in its College Area building at 68th and El Cajon Blvd.
SAN DIEGO – “When I say move, you say be,” shouted Movement BE program founder Nate Howard at the summer camp’s “Fun Friday” event.
The Movement BE association’s summer camp is in its second year.
Last summer, the group hosted the grand opening of the old payday loans building at 68th and El Cajon.
“A lot has changed, it was an abandoned building, and we turned it into a center for young people,” said Howard, who is himself a professional poet, having recorded songs with rap artists Ty Dolla $ign and Kendrick Lamar.
Young minds at summer camp focus on creative writing, art, and poetry. The group of children ages 4 to 11 recites positional affirmations, such as “I’m happy.”
It’s 8-year-old Kayionnie Evans Nash’s first year at Movement BE summer camp.
“I’ve never been to a summer camp that had everything before, it’s really cool here,” Evans Nash said.
Evans Nash wants to be a police officer or a firefighter when she grows up, and says this camp exposes her to creative ideas.
“Sometimes I really don’t want to be stuck at home all day. Here I see more adults and it’s more fun,” Evans Nash said.
In one year, the size of the summer camp has more than doubled to over 70 children each week.
Natalie Lopez was part of the camp last year as a former young foster and is now a staff member.
“This place is actually the best place I’ve ever been to, unlike others this place has equality. It has all types of races, ages,” said Lopez, who serves as an illustrator .
Lopez loves diversity and says camp is a safe place that feels like home and motivates her.
“They’ll leave with confidence, let’s be honest because here they give you a ton of confidence,” Lopez said.
The older ones from college and high school get together on Tuesdays and Thursdays for Movement BE’s “Hip Hop and Pizza” sessions. The camp is free for all San Diego Unified students and is funded by the San Diego Foundation.
Nate Howard, who is himself the new father of a 4-month-old baby girl named Ozara, which means “wealth”, says he hopes the camp will continue to grow.
“To empower them to realize that I’m beautiful, powerful, intelligent and to make them understand the power of their words and the way they tell their story is our whole message,” Howard said.
The Movement BE summer camp runs until August 26th. Then, the non-profit organization will organize an after-school program and family days on Saturdays.
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