How an author, pastor, military and firefighters saved a Trenton summer camp

July 16, 2017 - summer camp

TRENTON — The summer stay during a Old Barracks Museum in downtown Trenton was a strike for decades.

Children – many a kids of state and city employees – attended a countless one-week sessions and schooled to march, stitch their possess rucksack, prepare colonial-era dishes and arrange in platoons like Revolutionary soldiers.

But over a past several years, assemblage dwindled as a stay fell out of preference as thesis camps and sports camps rose in popularity, notwithstanding a stay being flattering reasonable in cost, fort officials say.

Last year, they could usually pattern about 10 kids for one weeklong session.

Enter a internal author and former Trenton propagandize clergyman Lisa Willever, who over a winter and open fabricated a organisation to boost enrollment and re-inject life into a camp, to a pleasure of museum officials.

The stay had 16 kids this past week, and 30 are attending subsequent week. “We were like wow,” an vehement John O’Sullivan, boss of a barracks board said Friday.

Willever is informed with a stay child since her children are annual attendees, so she’s a fan, though she was also meditative of all a city kids who maybe did not have a means to attend.

And it’s not only camp, it’s story in their backyard. 


Here’s how she did it

First, Willever has knowledge with grassroots efforts. She writes children’s books – including a Nicky Fifth series – and started a substructure called the Nicky Fifth Foundation for her education efforts.

For example, she spearheaded a collection and donations of 7,000 books donation to Trenton propagandize children in 2015, started a firehouse-based library complement after that year, and progressing this year donated 4,000 copies of her latest book to each third, fourth and fifth grader in a Trenton – in one day.

Willever started final tumble by chatting adult attendees during meetings of a Capital City Community Coalition, a organisation of city officials, clergy, law coercion and nonprofits that shaped in 2014.

Then she told museum executive Richard Patterson of her skeleton to partisan students for a stay and offer them scholarships, by her foundation. He pronounced a stay could accept kids for $200 a week, a $25 discount.

Next, she lined adult a money.

The Trenton Fire Department’s dual unions, who partner with Willever’s substructure regularly, donated $3,000 for 15 campers. (Her father is a city glow chief).

The Mercer County Prosecutor’s Office donated 4 scholarships and she dull adult assist from from Mercer County Sheriff Jack Kemler, Mercer County Executive Brian Hughes, Assemblywoman Liz Muoio and some other unnamed benefactors.

With appropriation in place, Willever approached several city propagandize officials with her devise so they could suggest children to offer scholarships.

They were not really helpful, Willever said.

It’s been a flourishing problem, Patterson said. The museum hosts about 12,000 New Jersey propagandize children a year on educational margin trips to a Barracks, though frequency any from a city. “We have kids from Vineland, though we don’t get them from Trenton.”

Cannons, muskets drums: Patriots Week 2016

As a propagandize year came to a close, Willever indispensable backup.

Enter Rev. Karen Hernandez-Granzen, pastor at Westminster Presbyterian Church in a city, who’s active in several village initiatives.

Someone pronounced to call her, Willever said, and she’s blissful she did.

In days, Hernandez found a kids. “She was instrumental in identifying and recommending Trenton students ages 9 to 12 and aiding families with securing required permissions and medical forms,” Willever said.

Patterson pronounced Hernandez is a “live wire” of action.

Then came transportation, an emanate for many kids in a city, Willever said.

She’d run into New Jersey State Police Maj. Ronald Hampton during the Capital City Community Coalition and he pronounced several times, “If we need transportation, let me know.”

She did, and Hampton orderly a outpost to collect adult any camper wanting a ride, and pushed by all a state bureaucracy to make it happen, Willever said.

Each day final week, several campers had a protected float to and from a stay with a guard driver. “The kids have had a singular event to cater members of a law coercion community…and have a certain military experience,” Willever said


Hernandez’s Westminster Presbyterian Church is also aiding with travel for a event starting this week.

And afterwards there were a small things.

Italian People’s Bakery gave a stay and good bonus on dual weeks of hoagie rolls for sandwiches – that Willever her foundations’s partner executive Iris Hutchinson used to make sandwiches final week. Wireless Zone in Hamilton donated dual weeks of H2O and chips, Willever said.

All of it led to Friday’s “muster out” graduation, and grant kids like Giana Hernandez and Angelia Glanton basking in a experience.

“I schooled that George Washington degraded a British 3 times in 10 days,” Giana said. “We had to stitch and march. It was fun,” Angelia said.

Giana pronounced she didn’t even know a Barracks were in Trenton; Angelia had seen a building, though suspicion it was closed. “I went to downtown Trenton a lot, though I’ve never been here,” Giana said.

Now, a dual girls knows because it’s here.

And that is all Willever had to hear. “The kids have been requesting applications for subsequent year,” Willever pronounced proudly.

O’Sullivan pronounced Willever, Hernandez and all those who pitched in have helped a museum live one a missions to teach New Jersey students about what happened in Trenton during a Revolutionary War.

“And it’s a never finale conflict to do so,” he said.

Kevin Shea might be reached at Follow him on Twitter@kevintshea. Find on Facebook.


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