Author: Darrin Korte, Director of Out-of-School Time Programs, The Hip Hop Transformation Program Director
Last year I was lucky enough to be awarded a grant to run the program of my dreams at the Cambridge Community Center. It was a program that would combine my three biggest passions – social justice, youth work, and hip hop culture. The program was designed to teach teens in the Cambridge area about the history of hip hop culture and the role that it plays in their lives. Then we would teach them the art of hip hop music – how to write, record, and perform their own original music.
Through this process we would develop conscious consumers who better understood the messages in the music they were listening to. We would develop teens that were comfortable exploring their talents and showcasing them in front of their community. We would combat the negative images often associated with hip hop music with the positive spirit that hip hop grew from. We would demystify the art of lyric writing and make this form of expression accessible to all of the program participants. We would connect them to positive role models in the local hip hop community. Through knowledge and experience we would inspire a transformation in the teens. The Hip Hop Transformation was born.
Author: Sarah Saydun, Cambridge Community Center Development Associate
In a recent interview on NPR, Dr. Daniel Siegel, a psychiatrist and Center for Culture, Brain, and Development at UCLA, stated that adolescent struggles are more than just raging hormones, they stem from a remodeling of the brain that makes them completely change. It made me reflect on what it was like to be that age – overwhelmed with stress from school, my family, my peers, and struggling to navigate all of the changes going on within myself. My mom used to tell me “don’t worry, high school won’t last forever”, half kidding, but fully empathizing, remembering her adolescent experience and the struggles she went through as an awkward teen trying to fit in.
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!