Summer Camp 2009 is fully underway at Booker T. and the kids are having a great time! This year, we are serving an unprecedented 75 children, ranging from 4 to 17 years of age. We have a total of 20 head counselors, counselors and aides providing our kids with the special care and attention they are accustomed to. Including our own staff, this year our special summer partnership with the East Harlem School at Exodus House and our renewed relationship with the NYC Summer Youth Employment Program have provided us with the additional staff necessary to operate such a large camp.
Our newer and larger space has really contributed in creating a robust, fun and academically rewarding camp. This year, under the direct guidance and planning of Executive Director Kimberly Wright, our summer camp staff has planned really exciting activities and trips – including mouth-watering cooking classes, life-sized art projects and fun dance classes, we offer it all.
Recognized by John Hopkins University as a National Center for Summer Learning, Booker T. has embarked on a new initiative this summer – while continuing its traditional ones. Our Executive Director has formed a collaboration with the College of Staten Island (CUNY) so that our Y L.E.A.D. and New Generations campers can experience life on campus on a daily basis. This exciting opportunity - in its pilot phase allows our students access to their state-of-the-art computer labs, recreational facilities, classrooms, library, even their swimming pool and much more. The campers are really enjoying their college campus experience.
Also, on August 12, 2009 our campers will participate in our Youth Mentoring Day with Goldman Sachs. This traditional summer event helps our kids really understand the life-long benefits of our community service experience; in addition, our campers get to bond with various professionals from Goldman Sachs, and also get a sense of what college and career exploration really entails. Throughout the day, the Goldman staffers and Booker T. campers participate in a variety of activities including fun icebreakers, group discussions, games and our traditional kick ball match.
Lastly, sticking to the true meaning of community service our campers are volunteering at All Souls Church, as part of the Friday Soup Kitchen program which serves meals to 160 individuals who are in economic crisis.
Although it’s only week four, we are truly amazed on how smooth our camp is going and how well behaved our children are. We expect that this year’s experience provides our campers with the chance to develop both independence (the ability to work effectively alone) and interdependence (the ability to work with others).
A good camp experience can also build self-confidence and a sense of pride and accomplishment through completing tasks, challenges and projects. Better yet, the opportunity to make new emotional and personal discoveries on a daily basis also helps kids generate a sense of self-control and, just as important, a sense of possibility.
The children, families and staff of Booker T. would like to take this opportunity to thank all of our donors for their summer camp contributions. Your steadfast commitment to our summer camp program has given many children this summer a rich and rewarding experience.
Have a great summer!