• 57°

Camp brings cheer to Brian Center residents

By Rebecca Rider


SALISBURY — Iva Rucker said she likes to greet the kids at the door.

“They seem to look forward to seeing me, and I look forward to seeing them,” she said.

Every Thursday during summer break, Partners in Learning buses one of its summer camp groups up to the Brian Center for an afternoon with the residents. The campers, ages 8 to 10, play games or put together puzzles with anyone from the center who wants to join.

“A lot of them don’t get to see children,” Mandy Jones, activity manager at the Brian Center said.

Jones said many of the residents — like Rucker — come back week after week. Campers often give the returnees nicknames. Rucker proudly said that her nickname was “Grandma Rucker.”

Rucker said she spends Thursday afternoons solving puzzles with the campers.

“It’s a wonderful idea,” she said. “The kids seem to have a good time.”

Rucker has four grandsons of her own, but said she still calls the campers her “grandkids.” And they make her feel young again.

But Shaina Vail, family and school-age coordinator at Partners in Learning said that it helps the kids grow up.

“They become instant adults when they walk through the doors,” she said.

Vail said she’s seen even the most hyperactive camper calm down when he or she enters the Brian Center. The children treat the residents with respect, and help open doors or push wheelchair-bound residents around the room. The students are learning to respect their elders and how to age, themselves.

“It brings a different culture. It brings a different lifestyle to the kids . . . it just brings a different world to the kids,” Vail said.

Friday, the Brian Center hosted a back-to-school party for the campers, with ice-cream sundaes and a piñata. The kids were each given a pencil pouch full of writing instruments and erasers to wish them on their way to a good school year.

The center’s activity room was full of shouts and laughter as campers and residents alike took a swing at the piñata, and as children scrambled for its sugary spoils.

But when the party ended, and the kids waved goodbye for the last time — this summer — Jones said the residents would be sorry to see the kids leave.

“It brightens their day,” she said of the visits.

Contact reporter Rebecca Rider at 704-797-4264.



Salisbury man arrested for running from deputies in smoke shop, tossing gun under table


Blotter: Salisbury man charged with indecent liberties, first degree sex offense


Council to discuss potential changes to Downtown Revitalization Incentive grant program


Election 2021: Bowman challenging Taylor in Rockwell mayor’s race


Public safety, city manager, economy: Mayoral candidates Alexander, Heggins discuss city’s biggest issues


Political Notebook: Rowan Democratic Party makes endorsements for municipal races


Spencer looking for big impact from new storefront grants

Granite Quarry

Election 2021: Granite Quarry’s new mayor will be a veteran or a newcomer

Ask Us

Ask Us: If I received my vaccine in another county, is it recorded in Rowan?


Young entrepreneur raises $1,000 for Rowan County United Way with lemonade stand


Election 2021: Candidates in East Spencer hoping to continue moving town forward


Election 2021: Candidates detail their visions, goals if elected to Salisbury City Council

China Grove

Election 2021: China Grove Town Council candidates detail approaches to handling economic, residential growth


Election 2021: Four candidates competing for three seats in town of Cleveland


County hopes software will streamline foster home licensing process


Election 2021:Four vie for pair of seats on Granite Quarry board

High School

High school volleyball: Carson tops Mustangs again


Judge: No waiting on NC budget to act on school funding


2 more House Democrats retiring, underscoring 2022 obstacles


Man jailed for shooting at Davie detectives in Rowan County given $560,000 bond


County Commissioner Craig Pierce pleads guilty to driving while intoxicated


Overdose call turns into homicide investigation on Ted Lane


Court judgment requires occupants to vacate Gheen Road home, site of two murders


Blotter: Oct. 17