Hill oversees campers in the Waldo Community Center while they pick out beads for an arts and crafts project. The Waldo Summer Camp allows 35 campers, which is the limit mandated by the fire code, and the camp includes breakfast and lunch provided by the Alachua County School Board. “My camp isn’t just for Waldo kids. It’s for everybody,” Hill said.
Hill oversees campers in the Waldo Community Center while they pick out beads for an arts and crafts project. The Waldo Summer Camp allows 35 campers, which is the limit mandated by the fire code. The camp includes breakfast and lunch provided by the Alachua County School Board. “My camp isn’t just for Waldo kids. It’s for everybody,” Hill said.

 

WUFT Photo Story by Aaron Ritter

Lisa Hill, a 54-year-old Waldo resident, volunteers hundreds of hours every summer as the sole founder and director of the Waldo Summer Camp. Hill proposed the idea for a summer camp at a 2011 city of Waldo board meeting after she realized many kids in Waldo have nothing to do while school is out for break. Hill had sent her youngest child, Draven, to the local Boys and Girls Club, and she was surprised to see how many Waldo families couldn’t afford to put their kids in summer camp. Hill founded the camp in 2011 and has been running it ever since. She is not compensated for the camp, which is open Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., and she works nights as a security guard for Securitas Security. Despite both long days and nights, Hill said she would not change anything about her situation. “The kids are my world,” Hill said. “There is nothing that is gonna stop me from doing this.”

 

Hill cleans sand off of a child’s face after he fell on the playground. Despite working long days and nights, Hill emphasized being constantly alert around the children. “When I get an award, It is gonna be from the man above,” Hill said.
Hill cleans sand off of a child’s face after he fell on the playground. Despite working long days and nights, Hill emphasized being constantly alert around the children. “When I get an award, It is gonna be from the man above,” Hill said. (Below) Hill plays patty cake outside with a camper while other children play around her.

 

Hill plays patty cake outside with a camper while other children play around her.

 

Children play on the playground outside of the Waldo Community Center as Hill supervises them. Many children return each year to Hill’s summer camp. “It’s amazing to watch the kids grow up,” Hill said.
Children play on the playground outside of the Waldo Community Center as Hill supervises them. Many children return each year to Hill’s summer camp. “It’s amazing to watch the kids grow up,” Hill said.

 

The kids are my world,” Hill said. “There is nothing that is gonna stop me from doing this.

 

Hill cleans up after lunch in the Waldo Community Center while kids run past her to play outside.
Hill cleans up after lunch in the Waldo Community Center while kids run past her to play outside.

 

Children play around Hill in the Waldo Community Center. Waldo’s community school closed in 2015, so children are forced to attend school elsewhere. Losing the school also left a social vacuum for the children, which Hill hopes to fill with the Waldo Summer Camp.
Children play around Hill in the Waldo Community Center. Waldo’s community school closed in 2015, so children are forced to attend school elsewhere. Losing the school also left a social vacuum for the children, which Hill hopes to fill with the Waldo Summer Camp.

 

 

Hill works a security shift at the Holiday Inn on University Avenue in Gainesville. She works as a security guard from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and then opens the Waldo Community Center at 7:15 a.m. the next morning for summer camp where she will volunteer until 4 p.m. She does not receive any compensation for directing the Waldo Summer Camp.

 

Hill patrols the Holiday Inn on University Avenue while working her security shift.