Local foster children enjoy pastries as part of summer camp program

Published 7:07 pm Friday, July 13, 2007

Local foster children were given the opportunity to decorate their own pastries at Paul’s Pastry Shop as part of the summer camp program for county foster children.

The children came to the pastry shop in two groups, half of them on Tuesday and the other half on Thursday. They were given cookies and icing to decorate with whichto decorate the cookies, as well as a slice of king cake and a king cake baby and a plastic pick to insert into their slice. Sherri Thigpen, owner of the pastry shop, gave a demonstration on how to decorate the goodies before the children began. The kids were also given a tour of the shop and had the opportunity to see how the different cakes and goodies are made.

Camp Odyssey, the summer camp program, is held to allow foster parents to have a break from taking care of their foster children, said Denise Rouse, one of the counselors for the camp and an employee of the Mississippi Department of Human Services. The camp has 70 children attending this year and is sponsored by the Pearl River Baptist Association, local churches and local attorneys, Rouse said.

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The camp lasts a week, and children stay overnight at an undisclosed location within the county. The camp is allowed to use the facilities at no charge, Rouse said.

“We try to use community resources to provide their entertainment, such as King’s Arrow Ranch (in Hillsdale) and Paul’s Pastry. We also took them horseback riding. But we have to rely on the donations we receive to fund these things,” Rouse said.

Another advantage to having the camp is that it gives siblings who might be separated within the system the opportunity to spend time together, she said.

“There might be five or six children within a family who have to go into foster care, and we can’t put all those children with one family. So this camp gives them a chance to see each other,” Rouse said.

The camp is staffed by local DHS employees and by volunteers from New Palestine Church and Hillcrest Church of Carriere.

Donations can be sent in care of the Children’s Special Fund or Camp Odyssey to the Pearl River County Department of Human Services Office at 167 Savannah-Millard Road, Poplarville, MS 39470.

For more information about Camp Odyssey, contact Denise Rouse at (601) 928-2510 or Tana Walker at (601) 795-3038.