Paul's Place offers free summer camp to Baltimore City kids

BALTIMORE - It started out as a soup kitchen in Baltimore’s Pigtown neighborhood.  Today, Paul’s Place is a community outreach center with many different programs, including a free summer camp for kids.

Its getting kids off the couch and seeing the city in ways they may have never seen it before, while helping to continue their education.

There’s a mixture of excitement and trepidation at the Downtown Sailing Center as a group of middle school students prepare to go out sailing, many for the very first time.

"I’m scared the boat is going to flip over.  I don’t like sailing," said Shanya Young, a camper who has been with the program for seven years.

Yet she still went out on a small sailboat, which is exactly what the summer camp is all about-- pushing kids out of their comfort zone and exposing them to new experiences.

"To give them an opportunity to get in a boat by themselves at such a young age and to be able to take command and gain self confidence and say 'I can do this,' I think that’s literally life changing," said Lynn Handy, executive director of Downtown Sailing Center.

The kids are learning how to navigate a sailboat at the downtown sailing center, using problem solving and communication skills.  There’s a little science involved too, like using Play-Doh to learn about buoyancy.

"This not only allows them to go on field trips and have fun but also sustaining their education," said Tissa Thomas, the youth program coordinator at Paul's Place.

"This is a perfect urban environment where kids should be getting out on the water and using the resources they have in their own city," said Handy.

To learn more about the other services and programs offered by Paul's Place, click here .

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