Camp Washington's Pop-up Beer Garden on Friday will help fund its free community school

The Cincinnati neighborhood's school lets adults get GED degrees to find jobs in the area.

click to enlarge Made in Camp is the logo for the Camp Washington Community Board - PHOTO: Provided
PHOTO: Provided
Made in Camp is the logo for the Camp Washington Community Board

With all the new cultural activity occurring in Camp Washington, one can overlook one of the neighborhood's long-time educational institutions, the Camp Washington Community School. It was started by the local non-profit redevelopment corporation — Camp Washington Community Board, whose logo is Made in Camp — in 1988 to help adult residents get the High School Equivalency Certificate known as a GED. On Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. at the school, inside an old Victorian house  at 2951 Sidney Ave., the Board provides teachers to help students prepare for their online state tests. Everything is free for the students — the Community Board also pays the state fee to take the test.

Because of those costs, the Board is holding an outdoor Pop-Up Beer Garden from 4-10 p.m. this Friday (July 27) to raise money for the school. It occurs at 2951 Sidney, which is the Paul Rudemiller Neighborhood Center building that houses the school. An all-ages event that will also have live music and food, this makes up for the original attempt, canceled because of weather, to have the beer garden last Friday (July 20.) When weather is good, the shade at the site is "just perfect," says James Heller-Jackson, a community organizer for the Board.

He explained that the school was originally started to help residents get jobs with the many industries located in the neighborhood, which is primarily located between Spring Grove Avenue and Interstate 75. "There are lots of employers, but they don't want to necessarily hire someone without at least a GED," Heller-Jackson says. 

That's still a key reason for residents to seek a GED, but there are others. "The oldest student we have is a great-grandmother of 15 grandchildren," he says. "She walked in and said, 'Now, it's my time.' " 

While adults don't have to attend a school to prepare for the GED test, Heller-Jackson says Camp Washington has found it's very helpful to do so — especially for the math and science portions of the test.

Camp Washington has lost some industry with time, as all American urban neighborhoods have, but it's also enjoying a revival thanks to the craft-beer movement. Rhinegeist is finishing of a 40,000-square-foot building on Spring Grove that will become the company's refrigerated (beer) distribution center. Its longterm goal for the space, Heller-Jackson says, is to develop it in stages, including a beer garden and small stage. 

Rhinegeist is donating the beer for the Pop-Up Beer Garden, Heller-Jackson says.

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