The Alpha Group Inc., a Tallapoosa County nonprofit organization that promotes leadership within youth in the community, closed its fourth annual eight-week-long leadership camp this week.
To end the festivities, AGI held a kickball tournament featuring both campers and their parents.
“Some of the kids that worked with us didn’t even know what kickball was,” said James Carlisle, the owner of AGI, laughing. “So we got to bring back some of those old-school values.”
Delantus Young, AGI president, said the goal is to grow the young men and women who participate not just in their leadership, but spiritually, physically and mentally as well.
Each day starts and ends with prayer and reflection, namely the Our Father. During the day campers are put through a sort of boot camp, with a variety of physical activities to keep them in shape alongside a few mental challenges as well.
Participants are always encouraged to lift each other up and help each other as the tasks grow more difficult.
“A lot of kids don’t have anywhere to go, and they’re looking for a different item,” Young said. “No matter what’s going on, what society says is going on, we’ve got some good kids out here. They don’t want to be stereotyped and labeled as a lost generation. So they value a lot of good things, they just need some men in the community.”
The spirituality aspect has an elevated importance for Young, he said, who is a deacon at his local church.
AGI used to put on a basketball tournament to close the camp out, but with COVID-19 being spread more easily indoors, they switched it to kickball last year.
The tournament provided an opportunity for parents to compete alongside their children in a fun, family environment, Carlisle and Young said.
Even if the threat of COVID spreading isn’t there in future years, Carlisle indicated they’ll probably stick with kickball as their end-of-camp activity due to the positive feedback they’ve received.
“We had parents out there 40 and 50 years old participating with us that haven’t played kickball since they were kids,” Carlisle said. “It’s just a beautiful time to get together, and it’s just fellowship, man. It’s a beautiful, beautiful time.”
Carlisle also wanted to thank the camp’s sponsors; which include the campers’ parents, Walls Tires, The Station’s Best, Gwen Carlisle, Christine Todd and The Villaphanes.