Summer Enrichment Program for East Austin Students

June 16, 2011 at 9:15 am Leave a comment

The Boys & Girls Club of Austin is partnering up with Southwest Key’s East Austin Children’s Promise to offer an innovative and enriching summer camp for kids, funded by the KDK Harman Foundation.  While the camp has an academic focus, it will not have the structure of a normal school day.  Rather, the programming rotates throughout the day between robotics, outdoor recreation, time in the computer lab, arts and crafts, and various special events and field trips.  From 8:30AM to 5:30 PM for eight weeks in the summer (June 6 – July 29), enrolled students will spend their days learning about a broad range of topics and creating projects that allow them to use their imagination and brain power.  The goal of the camp is to get students excited about science by showing them all the ways in which science is immersed in their lives, inside the classroom and out.

The summer program incorporates daily elements of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) programming.  STEM is a national education coalition comprised of over 500 businesses, professional, and education organizations that advocates for increased focus on math- and science-related subjects in the classroom.  The goal of the coalition is to encourage students to pursue careers in related fields in order to keep the U.S. at the forefront of global technological innovation.  According to their website, one of STEM’s broader policies is to maintain “a strong emphasis in learning environments on hands-on, experiential, inquiry-based and learner-centered student experiences and activities, including engineering design processes.”   Learn more about STEM.

In addition to STEM, the summer program will also include Xenogia (zen-oh-hee-uh), a course that focuses on using the spoken word as a means to ending gang violence among youths, which is funded by the National Council for Crime and Delinquency.  After daily installments of Xenogia programming over the course of the summer, the students conclude their experience with a performance of their own creative material.

Various outings are also scheduled for the kids throughout the summer, such as a Girl Scouts-sponsored trip to IBM, where girls spend the day observing and learning from experienced engineers.   Weekly field trips, guest speakers, and student projects will be centered around that week’s STEM theme (engineering, chemistry, etc.).

Research has shown that how kids spend their summers plays a large role in academic performance.  Lower income students oftentimes lack the enriching and intellectually stimulating summer experiences of their higher income peers.  Activities like summer camps, travel, and summer school keep kids’ brains active so the things they learned during the school year do not stagnate over the long summer months.  Because lower income students often do not have the same opportunities for summer involvement, their academic performance during the following school year suffers.  The summer program being offered by the Southwest Key Boys & Girls Club seeks to address this issue by giving kids a fun and intellectually rewarding way to spend their summer.

– Kelle Kampa
Communications Intern
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Entry filed under: East Austin Children's Promise, EAustin College Prep Academy.

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