Philadelphia’s summer camps transform into classrooms
Nate Kersey-Williams, a camp counselor at the Frankford Boys & Girls Club in Northeast Philadelphia, is sprawled out in the corner of his club’s stuffy gym. The sound of basketballs meeting hardwood echoes around him. There is no air conditioner. Beads of sweat trickle down a collage of tattoos on his neck.
It’s nearly 5 p.m. when a stray ball bops the head of a young girl in braids next to him. She begins to cry, and Kersey-Williams moves to contain the situation. All day, he has been allocating juice boxes and popsicles, giving high-fives, and neutralizing childhood disputes.This summer, however, he’s not just expected to be a positive role model. He’s also a teacher responsible for ensuring that his campers are keeping up with their reading skills.
“We’re making sure that our kids stay on top of their books,” said Kersey-Williams, the club’s athletic director, who has been infusing reading components into basketball games.
Before he was a counselor, Kersey-Williams, 23, began attending Northeast Frankford Boys & Girls Club as a 6-year-old. The organization is his life — but it’s a club that has undergone a metamorphosis since his days as a youngster.
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