The word “camp” often paints a picture of running, playing and engaging in various physical activities. But for the sixth straight year, Cher's Sisters Only Club has held Camp Be Your Best, which challenges young girls mentally, morally and educationally.


The event is a free one-day camp held each year in Aiken, Augusta and Thomson. Aiken held its camp on Saturday at the Smith-Hazel Recreation Center on Kershaw Street. Over the course of the day, speakers offered words of encouragement to the girls, with emphasis on several topics including education, self-esteem, health and hygiene, bullying, peer pressure and money management.


“The purpose of the camp is for the girls to get motivation from different speakers and to learn more about themselves,” said Shaunteca Simmons, one of the camp assistants. “They engage in different things, and they also make connections by meeting the speakers.”


The camp generally caters to girls ages 11 to 18. According to one of the organizers of the camp, this year, they opted to start a couple of years younger.


“We wanted to expand because of the environment,” said Kathy Waltower, a Sisters Only member. “A lot of the girls are growing up a little faster now, and a lot of them need the information that is being presented.”


“It's a great camp, and I really love being here,” Simmons said. “It's great enrichment for the girls, and the reason I come back every year is to see the girls make those life changes.”


Cher's Sisters Only Club is a program member of the National Legacy Foundation Inc. which is also a nonprofit organization.


Derrek Asberry is a beat reporter with the Aiken Standard news team and joined the paper in June. He is originally from Vidalia, Ga., and graduated from Georgia Southern University with a journalism degree in May 2012.