Kansas City AileyCamp and Powell Gardens Illustrate the Power of Partnership

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Kansas City AileyCamp and Powell Gardens Illustrate the Power of Partnership

Categories: Blog, Newsworthy

“I will not use the word “can’t” to define my possibilities.” – AileyCamp Daily Affirmation 

A recent summer day dawned bright with possibility.  For 100 children from both the Missouri and Kansas inner city, the parting showers and heavy sunshine were just the welcome they needed to take a break from their inner city neighborhoods.  The leaders of their summer camp, AileyCamp, loaded the big yellow buses to bring their young pupils out to the Powell Gardens countryside for a crash course in self discovery. 

 AileyCamp is now nationwide with programs targeting children with academic, social and domestic challenges from California to Florida.  However, AileyCamp originated right here in Kansas City and boasts a rich history beginning in 1998.  The K.C. chapter of Friends of Alvin Ailey originally created AileyCamp with the following goal in mind:

“It does not serve as a training ground for professional dancers, but rather uses dance as a vehicle for developing self-esteem, self-discipline, creative expression and critical thinking skills.

The day begins with a self-affirmation which focuses attention on the positive, self-control that each member can exercise to mount each day.  It’s a lesson we might all benefit from.  Here, I captured their youthful joy as they began and moved through their day:


Powell Gardens loves the opportunity to partner with like-minded service groups whose primary mission is to educate and enhance, especially children, whose lives can change as a result of discovery.  Here in the Heartland Harvest Garden, hands-on opportunities allow visitors to touch, taste and experiment with healthy foods and growing practices that can enhance a life for years to come. 

The participants of the camp explored the natural wonder, completed a scavenger hunt of strange and useful plants like “dill” and “fig,” and tasted a few of the seasons fresh offerings. One of the primary goals of AileyCamp is to facilitate an understanding of healthful nutrition.  The campers delighted in the over 12 acres of fresh food and vegetables, stopping to touch and identify, even taste what can be produced in soil just like theirs at home!  In fact, it was difficult to deter them from tasting — a most excellent problem to have!

We know that Powell Gardens makes a difference in education and healthful lifestyles — we see it each day.  We also know it isn’t possible to partner with these groups without the generous support of our Friends members, donors and corporate sponsors.  We hope you enjoy this sneak peek into the good that you do each day, even when you aren’t thinking about it!  Your partnership matters.


FAQs about AileyCamp can be found by clicking here.

 An important aspect of the program’s success is in providing positive adult and peer role models, and giving campers an invaluable opportunity to explore their creativity, learn to master their bodies, and strengthen their respect for themselves and others within a supportive framework that gives them an important foundation for the future.

Wonder how the Harvest Garden began in 2009?  Click here.