Author: Amelia Joselow, Director of Marketing and Outreach, Green Program Director, Cambridge Winter Farmers Market co-manager.
It is hard to imagine, but it is time to start thinking about summer programs. Families prepare early to get their children into the right program for them, and summer programs prepare early to make sure they have the very best to offer youth. But what's the rush all about? Why does it matter?
1. Summer programs keep children's minds active over the summer months, to avoid the "brain dump" that can occur when a child leaves school. With a general enrichment summer program, youth return to school in the fall ready to continue learning; not start over.
2. Summer programs keep kids active! We live an an increasingly screen-centered world- televisions, computers, tablets, phones- but children need to move around to stay healthy! Summer programs usually offer outdoor time, sports, swimming, and more physical activities. Summer is not a time to be a couch potato; it is a time to get out in the sun and have some fun!
3. Summer programs build confidence and a positive attitude. "Ninety-six percent of campers say that 'camp helped me make new friends,' and 92 percent say, 'Camp helped me feel good about myself.' Seventy percent of camp parents say, 'My child gained self-confidence at camp' " (ACA, 2005). When children are a part of a group, a team, a program, they grow individually and together, an invaluable social and developmental experience.
4. Summer programs allow youth to explore new interests. Unlike the classroom, most summer camps allow youth to choose which activities they'd like to participate in. This choice and responsibility engages children and allows them to learn and enjoy something new or delve deeper into something they are already passionate about.
5. Summer programs serve families too. A day camp is not just a great place for a child to spend their days, it is a viable option for parents who need a flexible schedule to accommodate their work. While it works for some families to send their children to a sleep-away camp, for many children and parents that is not the right choice. Day programs keep children close to home and allow parents to communicate as often as they like with group leaders, directors, and staff to ensure that the children are receiving the very best.
Cowemoki Summer Enrichment Program, the K-8 summer program at the Cambridge Community Center, is proud to be a part of this tradition and to offer these important aspects to the community. Find out more about our program here. And get ready for summer! It will be here (hopefully) sooner than you think!