'Sports is an excellent vehicle:' Milwaukee church hosts soccer, basketball camp for kids; free of charge

MILWAUKEE -- When school's out for the summer, there are plenty of camps to help kids stay active, but they can come with a high price-tag. Not so at Risen Savior Lutheran Church in Milwaukee!

"We are just trying to give the kids an opportunity to do something positive in the summertime," said Pastor Peter Leyrer, Risen Savior Lutheran Church near 91st and Brown Deer. "We just want to provide something positive for the kids to do -- give them an opportunity to have some exercise, learn some new skills in a safe environment. I think being safe in the summer is really important."

In 2019, they decided to host a summer sports camp.

"Sports is an excellent vehicle," said Ron Whittaker, head of Vacation Bible School. "Put a ball on the floor, and here they come. We decided to do a sports camp, which, we can teach them some basic skills in soccer and basketball, and also the importance of teamwork, team building, and character building."

The camp is free of charge.

"It's an opportunity that is probably not going to be available to a lot of these kids," said Pastor Leyrer. "Sports camps like these are really popular, but they cost money, and a lot of these kids in the neighborhood would not be able to afford this kind of thing."

"It came in my mail, and I checked the box, and I saw it," said Giden Goupalsingh, age 10.

The kids and church leaders said they were excited for the opportunity to play and learn.

"It gives me something to do so I don't go home and play games," said Joshua Efanga, age 12.

"We wanted to get them out, give them a carrot to bring them in, to not only get a chance to be in a safe environment, but also give them God's word," said Whitaker.

"This has been a great response," said Pastor Leyrer. "We have quite a few kids. We invited a lot of the neighborhood and some kids from our summer school, so we are getting a good response, so we are excited about this being a wave for the future."

"You guys should come, and it's really fun!" said Efanga.

The camp was scheduled to run through Thursday, July 25. CLICK HERE to learn more.