Lighthouse Education Program thankful for summer camp community support

Summer camp students create towers out of pasta and marshmallows in a lesson about building a solid structure such as the 145-year-old St. Augustine Lighthouse.

For the past 8 years, 350 students have attended summer camp on scholarship

As another summer camp season wraps up, the nonprofit St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum would like to thank the many individual community donors, business sponsors and nonprofit partners who have helped to provide these educational experiences over the years.

Camp support is provided by the Saint Augustine Sertoma Club, Blessings in a Backpack, the Junior Service League of St. Augustine, Inc., and many others who provide scholarship donations.

Partners would provided support during the 2019 summer camp field trips include the Schooner Freedom, the Castillo de San Marcos, the Fountain of Youth Archaeological Park, Anastasia Watersports, Sea Love Charters, Ripple Effects Eco Tours, the Seafood Shoppe, Anastasia State Park (a Ranger-let program), Lightner Museum, and Genung’s Fish Camp, which offered a tour on the Matanzas Riverkeeper’s Litter Picker II.

Individuals who provided cultural heritage programs for summer camp include Mike Usina and Phil Castillo, teaching about Minorcan cast nets; Shayla Nelson, a student musician from the St. Johns County Center for the Arts (SJCCA) at St. Augustine High School; and Melinda Reed, a Museum volunteer who told the stories of four different people in British St. Augustine during the Revolutionary war period.

Students are shown on the observation deck of the St. Augustine Lighthouse after climbing the historic tower during the 2019 summer camp.

More than 1,014 children have benefitted from the summer camp over the past eight years, along with 350 in the St. Augustine community who have attended on scholarship. Over 2,500 meals and snacks were served, with additional food sent home with campers on scholarship through the Blessings in a Backpack program.

The nonprofit First Coast chapter of Blessings in a Backpack provides school-aged children with food on weekends during the school year, and partners with organizations such as the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum to help provide food during the summer weeks. Find out more at firstcoastblessingsinabackpack.com

“It is always a joy to work with children or to see them stimulated by a good program,” said longtime Museum supporter and former board member Judy Burnett Albright. “To make a lasting difference in the life of an at-risk child can put them on the correct path for life. For those of you who helped make a difference, thank you for following your heart and giving these youngsters confidence and hope for their future.”

In addition to summer camps, the Education Program at the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum shares the maritime stories of the region. Nation’s Oldest Port™ School Group and Day Camp programs introduce K-12 students to the science of light, archaeology of shipwrecks, 500 years of Florida maritime heritage, and the important role of lighthouses and lighthouse keeping to the economy and coastal defense. Programs for scouts and other groups also are available. Learn more at staugustinelighthouse.org/explore-learn/education/

For more details, contact Education & Program Manager Jill Titcomb at jtitcomb@staugustinelighthouse.org or 904-829-0745 ext. 223.