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Davis' church, Church at the Depot, bought a defunct day camp for $535,000 and turned it into Camp Appalachia, a 150-acre camp with features such as a rock wall, a ropes course, and a pool. The church is partnering with West Virginia State University to provide outdoor education, in hopes of slowing or preventing summer learning loss for campers.
The camp aims to help kids build up their self-esteem and realize they can conquer challenges (such as a rock climbing wall), which will hopefully help them feel like they can overcome the challenges in their home lives. They want to help the children understand that "they can be better," Davis told Lammers. "We can't necessarily fix the kid's situation, but we can change his or her outlook on the situation. So, when they go back to a home that is not suitable, so to speak, they have the emotional fortitude and the resiliency to be able to overcome their family situation. Maybe they can look back on the counselor who spent extra time with them, or showed them that they cared."
Davis will bring in local firefighters, EMTs and police officers to hang out with the kids so they can feel more comfortable with law enforcement, instead of viewing them primarily as people who "took Mom or Dad away," he said. The camp opens this summer.