Chipola Champs Camp Shows Youth College Life - WMBB News 13 - The Panhandle's News Leader

Chipola Champs Camp Shows Youth College Life

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A variety of science experiments made for some hands on fun at Chipola College.

A group of 14 kids from five panhandle counties are spending their day with their mentors at the first ever ‘Chipola Champs Camp.'

"Kids involved in the child welfare system don't always have the opportunities that other kids have, that I had growing up, said Courtney Stanford with the Florida Department of Children and Families. "We really wanted to expose them to different opportunities, get their feet on a college campus, so we can help them continue their educational and career dreams."

For seventh grader David Smith, it's his first time on a college campus.

"It's bigger than you know regular high schools elementary schools," said Smith.

"What about the cheerleaders last night at the basketball game? Asked Smith's mentor.

"That was pretty cool," said Smith.

The youth started their camp with seats to a Chipola College Basketball game Tuesday night before touring the campus and different career fields on Wednesday.

"We wanted to have something available for everyone's interests...so not everyone likes athletics not everyone likes academics and art," said Stanford.

Haley Whitcomb, 17, will graduate high school this year. She is anxious however to start college next year.

It's an aspiration the Chipola Champs Camp hopes to make a common thread among all the youth who attended.

The Chipola Champs Camp is part of the Department of Children and Families' statewide initiative called Camps for Champions, created a little over a year ago. Wednesday's camp was the first camp in our area.

It's also the first to kick off a mentoring program along with it. The youth have been paired with a mentor who will keep in touch and motivate them on an ongoing basis.