Atmore’s Houston Avery Park will come alive with the squeals and laughter of children on Saturday, when Destiny Worship Center presents its 11th Annual Stomp the Yard event.
Billed as “a gathering of gifted youth,” the five-hour, free youth explosion will begin at noon and continue until 5 p.m.
“Everything is free for the kids,” said Felicia Bishop, co-pastor of the local church. “It’s just a big fun day at the park for them.”
This year’s affair is being held later in the year than usual. Bishop said there are primarily three reasons for that. “We used to do it right before school started, but it was so hot,” she explained. “Plus, so many other people do back-to-school bashes. So we put it in October so it would be kind of a break in between the start of school and the holidays.”
Bishop pointed out that all children are welcome, but that each one must be accompanied by an adult if they want to enjoy the free food, games –including basketball, softball, ping pong, relay races, tennis and a dance competition – and entertainment.
The afternoon of fun will also feature a more serious side.
“We will have a lot of educational seminars,” said Bishop. “The sheriff’s office will be there, and the state always furnishes an inmate who talks with them about making right and wrong choices. There will also be someone from the educational field to talk with them about the importance of education and staying on track.”
The local health department will also be on hand to offer free onsite HIV testing, with results available within about 15 minutes.
“A lot of teenagers don’t realize how high the rate (of HIV) is for Escambia County,” Bishop said. “It’s pretty nasty, and we’d like to offer them that option (the free tests).”
The entertainment will include Bishop and two other psalmists, Ruby Collins and Keyla Richardson, as well as various youth drama teams, youth praise dancers and more. Various elements of worship will also be presented.
“It’s a day to celebrate and encourage our children to know that someone still cares and is willing to invest in them,” Felicia Bishop said. “That’s what it’s all about.”
For more information on Saturday’s event or to volunteer to help, those interested may call Dr. Bernard Bishop at 251-577-1430.