OpenDoors of Asheville is a remarkable non-profit organization that helps local children reach their potential with individual support and a host of educational and enrichment opportunities. These opportunities are designed to help the children begin to invest in themselves and ultimately break the cycle of multi-generational poverty.
Since 2012 OpenDoors and Camp Spring Creek have worked as a team, co-funding several summer camp scholarships to help children get the spelling, reading and writing remediation they need. While at camp, the children are immersed in summer activities ranging from kickball to camping with other children and counselors from across the world.
Tyion Lucas just finished his 2nd summer at Camp Spring Creek. OpenDoors Board Member and Team Leader Denise Turner remembers hearing about Tyion’s fears concerning his participation in an upcoming spelunking adventure. Initially, he insisted he wasn’t going to repel into a dark cave, let alone jump into an underground lake. After discovering one of the staff members, who was also afraid, was going to participate, he decided to open himself to the possibilities. He believes his courage paid off. In addition to this adventure, Tyion tried other new things like whitewater rafting, Asheville’s Color Run 5K and glass blowing.
“Tyion learned a lot about himself during his eight weeks at camp,” Denise says. “At Camp Spring Creek, Tyion not only made academic gains, but also discovered the extent of his determination and perseverance. He learned he was strong, confident and good at working with people. This year he was chosen to help younger kids with swimming. That was a huge confidence boost for him as he was told he would be a good camp counselor someday.
Until recently, Tyion admitted he didn’t enjoy reading, believing it to be difficult. “I was so proud when he told me he read ten books over the course of the summer. What impressed me most was that in listening to him talk about these books, and listening to him share analogies gleaned from his readings, I knew he drew meaning from the content, too.”
In a letter he wrote at the end of camp, he said, “I’m like the three little pigs, but I’m the one in the brick house. No one is going to blow my house down. I’m strong and confident. I’m going to keep going and do something. I’ll be back next year. I want to be better.”
Denise and Tyion’s mother Sheila enjoys watching Tyion’s growth. “Tyion continues to make progress and his confidence is growing,” Denise says. “He’s got a great sense of humor and isn’t afraid to use it. At his school, he was asked to join the football team and is experiencing great success. A page is clearly being turned for Tyion. I can’t wait to see the next chapter.”