Camp Teaches Pride

By James, Romando | Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences, January 1, 2000 | Go to article overview

Camp Teaches Pride


James, Romando, Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences


Strategies For Success

Camp PRIDE is an annual program providing boys with positive role models and a message affirming Perseverance, Respect, Integrity, Determination, and Enthusiasm.

Operation PRIDE, a 4-H based program that was created primarily to deal with building self-esteem among young African American males, is expected to be incorporated into a broader arena as a model for future programs that address other populations. The initial program was conceived in 1991 as a result of Dr. James's realization that students at Edwards Junior High School in Clemson, South Carolina, were not having their needs fulfilled educationally nor culturally. Permission was granted from the principal to expose teachers to Operation PRIDE. Students, parents, and the community were introduced to the concept at Camp Hope, also in Clemson.

Since its kick-off, 998 African American youth from 12 South Carolina counties have participated in the program.

"We are excited about the future and potential for expansion of the PRIDE program," said Dr. Diane Smathers, assistant director of Extension Family and Youth Development at Clemson University. "Not only do we desire to reach young men in all South Carolina counties, but this program has been cited as a model for the nation in 4-H programming. And it all started right here in the Palmetto State with one person with a vision."

"We just want them to get the meaning of PRIDE," explained counselor Reggie Lytle, taking a break from a pick-up basketball game at Camp PRIDE. "The whole week, they do different sports - such as running an obstacle course and riding horses. On Thursday, everybody's got to come on stage and do a skit and show what he or she learned in the week. We have different guests from the Omega (Psi Phi) fraternity," said Lytle.

Dr. Romando James, curriculum coordinator, said this year's theme is "He Ain't Heavy, He's My Brother," which was developed out of an awareness of increasing violence levels in society. "The program is designed to create an awareness that one brother's problem should be his problem," Lytle added. "One brother's concern should be his concern, thus creating a sensitivity and love to resolve problems together."

"I am especially proud of Operation PRIDE," James said. "It is a memorial to my son who was killed in a car accident. PRIDE was his dream. Although he is not here physically, I feel he lives on through PRIDE"

"We do a lot of fun activates, and they always keep us busy," confirmed Jordan Mosely, an 8-year-old camper from Columbia, South Carolina. …

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