by Patrice Baltimore
Camp Diva, a non-profit educational program based in Richmond, provides a nurturing safe-haven for girls and adolescents that instills in them the values necessary to cultivate them into productive and self-assured young women.
Camp Diva demonstrates its commitment to positivity by providing girls with inspiring mentors, various learning activities, enriching outings, educational resources, recreational opportunities, and a place to freely express themselves and expound on the qualities they possess.
Richmond resident Angela Patton established Camp Diva in 2004 as part of an earlier non-profit of hers, Spa Travelers. She named it in remembrance of Diva Mstadi Smith-Roane who lost her life in a 2004 domestic firearm accident at age 5. The summer retreat was such a success that Patton added an afterschool program in fall 2006.
Diva’s mother, Clover Smith, hopes that she and her daughter are “an inspiration to the girls and mothers, and that they will accept and remember the love given to them in the camp.”
Patton’s dedication is not only evident by her working this unpaid position, but also by the sheer joy that echoes in her voice when she speaks of the young girls. She says, “My work at the camp enriches me and makes me want to give more. The thing I look forward to most is that when I get older and can’t physically put forth the same effort, these girls that are with me will be able to take over Camp Diva.” Patton feels blessed to be a part of this program. She believes it will have a legacy beyond these years as it touches the lives of young girls one at a time.
Hannah Martin, age 12, has been coming to the Camp’s afterschool program for two years and will enjoy her third summer camp in a few weeks. She feels that Camp Diva has helped her change how she once behaved. She admits that like many adolescents, she can be “unruly at times.” She quickly adds, “Camp is making me calm.” She believes that Camp Diva is “a great opportunity for teenage girls.”
Nyemia Elliot, age 13, is attending Camp Diva for the first time this summer after discovering it online. She says she is looking forward to “meeting new people and learning how to sew,” as she wants to be a fashion designer when she grows up.
Kandia Shabazz, age 12, is enjoying her second year of Camp Diva. Her favorite part of camp is the field trips. She especially enjoyed a trip last year to Washington D.C. to a bed and breakfast.
Tiaunni Bowles explains how she came to be at Camp Diva for the first time: “My mother didn’t want me sitting at home and she was looking up camps online.” Tiaunni is looking forward to “meeting new people and going on field trips.”
Camp Diva activities are specially designed to enrich the lives of the young girls who take part in it. Through mentoring, an afterschool program, and a summer camp retreat, Camp Diva offers an array of opportunities to its camp-goers.
You may contact Camp Diva at 852-4385 for more information or to make donations. www.campdiva.org