- Associated Press - Thursday, May 12, 2016

CASSOPOLIS, Mich. (AP) - Several churches are organizing a weeklong summer camp in southwestern Michigan so that about 100 children from Flint can spend a week away from the city and its lead-tainted water crisis.

Camp Joy will be held at Camp Baber in Cassopolis from June 27 to July 4 and there will be no cost to the children’s families, the South Bend Tribune reported (http://bit.ly/1T7lp6Q ).

The Rev. Jerri Porter, of the Conner-Mayo African Methodist Episcopal Church in Dowagiac, said transportation, clothing, swimsuits, food and toiletries also will be included for the campers ages 7-13. The church and several other AME churches are organizing the effort.

“My heart aches when there’s a deficiency of any kind, when there is an injustice … especially for the children. Anytime I can aid in rectifying that situation or making it better, I will,” Porter said. “That becomes my assignment.”

Those involved in the camp are expecting between 100 and 115 children. They’ll be coming from two areas of Flint considered especially hard hit by the crisis.

Kenyetta Dotson, of Flint, said it’s difficult to keep concerns away from her 9-year-old daughter, Kyndall.

“Things are just a bit chaotic in Flint now. Camp Joy is a good opportunity for her to get away from these water problems, to make new friends, to build new mentoring relationships, and to have different and positive experiences,” Dotson said.

Kyndall said she is looking forward to camp so she can “get away from all of this water stuff.”

Flint is under a state of emergency after the city, under state management, switched to using the Flint River but failed to add the proper chemical treatment. Lead from old pipes leached into the water, and people were exposed for months before the emergency declaration was made in October.

Lead can cause developmental delays, learning disabilities and health problems in children.

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Information from: South Bend Tribune, http://www.southbendtribune.com

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