2013 – The Year in Review

Summer Camp, 2013
2013 Jacob’s Ladder Summer Enrichment Camp
St. Margaret’s School, Tappahannock, VA

2013 brought many new things into the world of Jacob’s Ladder – a new site, a new study on watersheds and environment, and of course a new group of Climbers. The following “newsletter” will bring it all together …

An Amazing Summer – Camp, 2013

St. Margaret’s School was the new venue for the Jacob’s Ladder summer residential enrichment camp in June, with 56 Climbers in attendance. This pristine, college preparatory school campus is in Tappahannock, VA and this place on the banks of the Rappahannock River provided an opportunity to expand our water and environmental conservation programs. True to this summer’s theme, “Champions Adjust!”, adjustments were made with wonderful results. Fourteen Climbers were new to the program and 18 graduated from the program at the closing of camp. Summer classes included: art, theatre, storytelling, math, science, music, marketing, public speaking, creative writing, mock court trials, mindfulness, adolescent health issues, swim lessons, water sports, and clubs. Eighth grade Senior Climbers studied the watershed and conducted water quality testing on the upper James River between June 23-28 through a grant approved by the Chesapeake Bay Trust and provided by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Grant Program.

Character development this year included focusing on daily living skills (points are added up to earn weekly rewards), a family day, and morning chapel led by RAs and Climbers. Eight of our RAs came from within the program, having been Climbers themselves. We value their desire to remain in the program, paying it forward, while serving as exemplary role models for present Climbers.

Jacob’s Ladder Alumni Service Trip

Painting, caulking, measuring, building, exploring, appreciating new experiences and enjoying one another, an extension of summer camp…giving back – that’s what Jacob’s Ladder Climbers do best! Nine alumni Climbers, three RAs and our camp counselor traveled to White Sulfur Springs in Greenbrier County, West Virginia to serve at Almost Heaven Habitat for Humanity. The trip took place August 3-11, 2013.

Jl Alumni Service Trip, 2013
JL Alumni service trip, 2013
West Virginia Bound! Climber Alumni prepare for their service trip.

Climbers wrote about the service trip experience. Here are some of their thoughts:

Dear Mr. Hall and the board,
This being my first alumni service trip I just thought it would be nice to let you know how much of a success it was. I walked away from West Virginia feeling as if I had made a huge difference in the community. These trips emphasize what Jacob’s Ladder is about and spread the knowledge of our talents and entire program throughout the country. I believe that it is a necessity to continue these trips for the better of the program.
– Gabriel, Jacob’s Ladder Graduate 2012

Dear Mr. Hall, Mrs. Hall, and JL Board Members,
This trip was by far the most fun I’ve had all summer. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but this trip was greater than I could’ve ever hoped to expect. West Virginia was a great experience; I expanded my mind and my muscles. I wish I could do a service trip every year. Miss Ruffa said before the trip, “If you put the right people on the bus, even if it breaks down, the ride will still be good”, which means to me that these trips will always be great no matter what happens or what the location is. I’d like to thank you for blessing me with the many doorways to opportunities that is Jacob’s Ladder.
– Liam, Jacob’s Ladder Graduate 2012

Fall Oyster Tasting

We’ve already written and posted about this before, but here’s a wrap-up:

Rappahannock River Oyster Company hosted the Jacob’s Ladder Third Annual Oyster Tasting at Merrior Restaurant, Locklies Marina on Sunday, September 29, 2013. First Tennessee Bank sponsored the fundraising event. Over 100 people were in attendance to enjoy local succulent oysters, pleasant fall weather, and support the children served by Jacob’s Ladder. Music was provided by “Out On A Limb”. Graduated Climbers, now college grads or soon to be college grads, spoke to the audience about the magnitude of the program and the life-changing effect on their lives.

At the event, flyers were handed out with some “Fast Facts” about Jacob’s Ladder that we want to share below:

  • Program established in 1991
  • 350 students to date
  • Gifted, underserved students are called Climbers
  • Climbers are in Jacob’s Ladder from Grades 4-8
  • Climbers come from both rural and urban areas of Virginia and North Carolina
  • 100% of Climbers graduate high school
  • 94% of Climbers enter college
  • 25 teachers assist with summer enrichment camp
  • The cost for 4 weeks of camp – $2,780
  • The cost for year-round advocacy and follow-up – $1,325
  • $8 million in scholarship funding has been awarded to Climbers since the start of Jacob’s Ladder
  • Past Climbers are currently attending or are graduates of: Brown, Dartmouth, Stanford, Yale, University of Pennsylvania, University of Chicago, University of Richmond, Georgetown University, College of William & Mary, University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, and Virginia Tech. Climbers who graduated high school this year (2013) are attending the following schools or universities: Duke University, University of Texas, Mary Washington University, VCU Arts Department of Photography and Film, North Carolina Central, University of Richmond, and Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.

Another success indicator for Jacob’s Ladder is the number of graduate Climbers who return to become counselors for the summer program. At this time our board has two former Jacob’s Ladder Climbers as members. This year we also had a first – a Climber Alumnus who returned for a week as a teacher of economics and sports marketing.

So that was the year that was, 2013. What does 2014 hold for us? Have a peek …

21st Annual Golf Classic

May 16, 2014, Jacob’s Ladder will hold its 21st annual Golf Classic at the Golden Eagle Golf Course in Irvington, VA. ALL proceeds go toward the summer enrichment camp. Sign up on-line at our registration page.

Spring Retreat

Date and times for the Spring Retreat will be announced by mail to eligible Climbers soon!

Senior Trip

The Senior Trip down the Upper James River will take place the week of June 22nd. Specific details (with start date, time, etc.) will be sent to our Senior Climbers in the Spring. Once again, our Seniors will be learning about life along the Upper James River, about environmental impact, and learn valuable lessons in leadership as well.

Summer Enrichment Camp

Climbers should have received their letters of invitation already and responses are expected to be in our hands by February 1st, 2014. Then it’s just a short time before the last week of June is upon us and the St. Margaret’s campus will welcome the Climber’s back! See you all real soon!

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