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Twenty-two first-year students will perform volunteer service in Easton before taking their first class at Lafayette this fall.

The new students will work closely with current students Aug. 18-21 on one of two interactive projects sponsored by Lafayette's Landis Community Outreach Center. First-year participants have a choice between the Kids in Community (KIC) day camp and Habitat Camp, which partners with the local Habitat for Humanity affiliate and Wildlands Conservancy. Both groups are part of the ongoing volunteer programs that students coordinate during the year through the outreach center.

In KIC, Lafayette students supervise children between seven and 15 years old. The camp has a new theme each year that runs throughout daily activities.

“The theme of peace and unity was chosen [this year] to emphasize togetherness as a community, a nation, and a family. Stressing the importance of unity and peace will not only emphasize the need for people to be more tolerant of each other, but also to reach out and help one another,” explains Katie Brown '04, an economics and business major from Shillington, Pa., and one of two program directors for the camp.

“The specific goal of the camp is for the children to learn ways to spread peace and unity within their communities,” adds Jennifer Gentile '03, an economics and business major from Media, Pa., serving as KIC head camp director this year. “This will be accomplished by activities specifically geared to our theme. In the computer room, kids will be researching their background (country, flag, etc.) and then looking at how their communities are united with different ethnic origins. The arts and crafts will be exploring different projects from all over the world. During reading time, these three books will be read and discussed: Berenstein Bears Lend a Helping Hand, The Ugly Duckling, and Frog and Toad are Friends. Sports on the Quad will deal with how to participate in sports and activities as a team.”

KIC Camp staff will include 13 first-year students and a crew of 11 current students: Gentile, Brown and Lisa Edwards '04 of Belle Mead, N.J., program directors; Kristen Cahill '04 of Erwinna, Pa.; Michelle Carson '05 of Hicksville, N.Y.; Renee Ferrari '04, a biology major from Collingswood, N.Y.; Sandra Goldman '05 of Needham, Mass.; Matt Grossman '05 of Wayne, N.J.; Eric Imhof '05 of Palmyra, Pa.; Kristen Radecsky '04, an electrical and computer engineering major from Flemington, N.J.; and Bill Simmons '04, an English major from Trenton, N.J.

Angela Coxe '03, a math major and Easton resident, will direct Habitat Camp for the second year in a row. Jeff Chittim '05 of Barrington, R.I., will serve as assistant director. Coxe has been deeply involved with the Landis Center throughout her college career, previously serving as a community service assistant.

“My experience with the outreach center has led me to discover new things about myself and others because volunteering is a continual process of learning and growth,” says Coxe.

While completing the task of building houses for local residents, the nine first-year students will gain more than just technical skills.

“The goal of the camp is to get the first-year students to learn about the community surrounding Lafayette and work in the community with their peers,” explains Coxe. “In addition, we hope the experience will expose the students to the volunteer opportunities Lafayette offers and let the first-years meet other students who are also interested in community service.”

The new students are looking forward to participating in the pre-orientation programs.

“The existence of this program reaffirms my view that Lafayette College was the right choice for me, that I will be offered many exciting opportunities in the years to come, and that I am becoming part of a caring college community,” says Colleen Walsh '06 of Manasquan, N.J., who will be in KIC.

Another first-year KIC participant, Amy Spooner '06 of Clifton Park, N.Y., is impressed by Lafayette's connection to the community.

“Quite a few of my friends are also doing pre-orientation programs at other schools, but theirs are not so community oriented,” she says. “I like how Lafayette does these sort of things for the community — it helps the town stay in touch with the college and vice versa. I think it's important for a college to be so in tune with the surrounding city.”

Both camps are overseen by Char Gray, director of the Landis Center; Kate Wick, outreach coordinator; and Gary Miller, college chaplain. Staff of both camps eat breakfast together, split up for the day to complete their specified activities, and then reconvene for dinner and nighttime activities as well. Not only are the students integrating with the community, but with each other as well.

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