ST. PETERSBURG — The Campbell Park Recreation Center held their annual Black History Celebration Feb. 24 at the Enoch Davis Recreation Center. The event was to honor individuals and groups for their contribution, dedication and support of the local communities.
“This gives recognition for those who help the community and will continue on a daily basis,” India Johnson, Enoch Davis recreation leader, said about the event.
The 2017 honorees were Carlos Daniels, former supervisor at Campbell Park Recreation Center; Lewis Stephens Jr., founder of the “I Support Youth” group; Ron Lancaster and Kendrick Scott, owners of Heavy’s Food Truck and the St. Pete Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity.
The ceremony began with the National Negro Anthem and a prayer by Mistress of Ceremony Fran Gammage.
“We are here to celebrate our heritage,” Gammage said about the event.
The event featured musical performances and readings from children and youth groups in the Campbell Park area, including dancers from Campbell Park Elementary students and singing from the Ash family.
A couple of young kids gave readings on notable black figures such as former President Barack Obama, while Gammage spoke about the late Enoch Davis, a renowned community leader, pastor and civic activist.
Gammage admired that the children came to support their community.
“We need to keep them motivated,” she said.
The first honoree of the night was Daniels for his contribution as a former recreational supervisor at Campbell Park.
Daniels worked at the rec center for eight years. He currently is a supervisor with the Cohort of Champion program, which is a unique workforce development initiative to support education, develop character, provide hands-on experience and career readiness for young men ages 12 to 24.
The surprise honoree that night was Carlos Childs, a coordinator for Campbell Park Recreation Center. Unprepared, Childs came on stage wearing his “behind-the-scenes” clothes since he’s “usually the one in the background,” he said.
Childs has worked for 12 years at the recreation center and also assists at Campbell Park Elementary.
“It’s rewarding to meet kids and help make a difference—small or big,” Childs said.
Childs worked with Daniels setting up recreation events at Campbell Park, and in certain circles, the dynamic duo of Daniels and Childs was known as the “C & C Connection.”
Heavy’s owners Lancaster and Scott both accepted their plaque and got back to work serving the guests.
“We appreciate the honor… to serve the community,” Scott said.
Stephens, Jr. shared the stage with his I Support Youth kids. His organization teaches young people how to be educated, strong and successful, and has been making great strides in the community since its inception.
He acknowledged that the honor “was more for the children” than himself. “They keep me going to work, he said. “I have more to do than just be honored.”
His group’s mission is to keep local children away from crime by offering jobs and mentoring programs. He also works as a behavioral specialist at Campbell Park Elementary.
Brothers from the Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity chanted their way to the stage. President Antwann Jackson accepted the award for the fraternity’s volunteer work at the center and in the community.