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Nathan Genho, teen counselor, Lucas Morey, Gerrit deWit, Ayden Compton, TJ Keane, teen counselor, and Reed Morey reload their water guns to cool off on a hot Friday afternoon.

Comment articles reflect the opinion of the writer, not the Rapp News. Reply below or by writing a letter to editor: editor@rappnews.com.

Two months ago — when it appeared that most of the summer activities planned for kids here in the county would have to be cancelled because of the Covid-19 health emergency — one person who was really troubled by what this would mean for Rappahannock’s children and families shared her concern with a handful of other folks.

Within a week, the group had expanded to include a dozen or more people — some included in the conversation because of their association with local non-profits, and some simply because they care deeply about the well-being of Rappahannock’s children and families. Two weeks later, with the support of even more people — including school and county officials — a summer camp program had been created for the month of July that would serve nearly 100 campers and teen counselors from Rappahannock County at three different locations.

The group now has a name — Rappahannock Kids Coalition/RKC — and is in the process of completing a report of its summer camp program to be shared in the next week or so with the School Board and Board of Supervisors.

The report will highlight the serious health and safety concerns that made planning such a challenge, the sources of funding that made the program possible, and the contributions of organizations, staff, and volunteers that made the program such a success. The report will also make clear how a highly motivated and committed process of community collaboration achieved in three weeks what initially had seemed an impossible outcome.

As Rappahannock’s kids and families prepare to go back to school next week, many are worried about how we will manage as a community to face unprecedented challenges. The RKC is committed to continue supporting Rappahannock’s students and families this fall, and looks forward to encouraging and engaging others — especially our elected officials — to join in the process of community collaboration. As an old African proverb says,

“It takes a village to raise a child.” It is certainly true that children thrive best when they grow up in a safe and healthy environment, surrounded and supported by a caring and nurturing community. Now is the time for all of us to come together to support our schools and teachers, and our students and their families. Working together works!

The writer is chair of the Headwaters Foundation.


 

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