Written by Meghan Travis
How did you spend your summers as a kid? Going to church camp? Spending the day with family or friends? Going on vacation? Experiencing new things? Playing sports? Going to the pool? For the kids in the Cardinal Valley and Coolavin Neighborhoods, they don't have the same opportunities as maybe you did or your kids do.
With a heart to transform the academic achievements, social interactions, physical health, and spiritual development of the children and families living along the Versailles Road Corridor, we are launching a pilot summer camp for these neighborhoods.
Why Summer Camp?
Children that do not have active ways to engage in educational opportunities during the summer experience what is called Summer Learning Loss. Research shows that students typically score lower on standardized tests at the end of summer vacation than they do on the same tests at the beginning of the summer. This creates a gap between children from high- and low-income families.
Every summer, low-income youth lose two to three months in reading while their higher-income peers make slight gains. Most youth lose about two months of math computation skills in the summer.
These reading and math losses add up. By fifth grade, summer learning loss can leave low-income students 2 1/2 to 3 years behind their peers.
Research shows that while gaps in student achievement remain relatively constant during the school year, the gaps widen significantly during the summer.
For every one line of print read by low-income children, middle-income children read three.
If you look at the ninth-grade achievement gap between lower and higher income youth, 2/3 of this gap can be explained by unequal access to summer learning opportunities during the elementary school years (Alexander et al. 2007). As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college.
Low-income youth lose access to healthy meals over the summer. Six out of every seven students who receive free- and reduced-price lunches lose access to them when school lets out.
Responding to Need
The Mission has invited Cardinal Valley and Harrison elementary students to join us for four weeks of Summer Camp. The cost of the camp is only $5 for two weeks. Our goal for summer camp is to help close the achievement gap that has been attributed, at least in part, to learning loss during the summer months. Students will experience spiritual development, meaningful relationships with peers and role models, engagement with nature, physical activity, engaging STEM and reading activities, and JUST PLAIN FUN!
Camps happen Monday through Thursday at local neighborhood parks:
Coolavin Park- 550 W. 6th St.
June 5-8 & June 26-29 | Mon-Thur 3:00-7:30 PM
Valley Park- 2077 Cambridge Dr.
June 19-22 & July 10-13 | Mon-Thur 9:00 AM-1:00 PM
HOW TO HELP!
For each camp, we are looking for 6 small group leaders and 3 activity leaders. Even if you can't commit to a whole week, we would love for you to commit to a day. All volunteers must complete a volunteer application process and background check, as well as a child abuse prevention training before each camp begins. Please fill out this form if you are interested in volunteering!
Even if you cannot commit to helping during camp, there are other ways to love on these kids this summer. We are looking for supplies and gift cards. Here is a list of items:
- Rubber Bands
- Large Index Cards
- Paper Cups
- Paper Towel Rolls
- Food Coloring
- Pipe Cleaner
- Craft Sticks
- Lunch Bags
- Ziploc Bags
- Pom Poms
Arts & Craft Supplies:
- All Types of tape
- Stamp Pads
- Foam Sheets & Stickers
- Colored Pencils
- Pencil Sharpeners
- Paper Plates
We are also collecting books for each camper to receive during the week. Children who are given access to books over the summer perform 35-40% better on reading achievement tests than those without access to books. So we want to give away as many books as possible!
As we bring this new ministry, would you partner with us in listening to the Lord's heart for these children and families? Pray for the Holy Spirit to go before us in all aspects of Summer Camp: to prepare the hearts and minds of campers and volunteers, to help everyone be ready for our time together, for preparations to go smoothly, and for all those little details to fall into place.
He has big plans. Won't you join us?!
Meghan Travis, Children & Youth Development Coordinator
Bachelors of Art in Missions from Asbury University
Over 10 years of experience loving on children and families
Seeking adventure through books, outdoors, music, & new experiences