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Academics infused into summer camps

August 10, 2012 2:22:46 PM PDT
Arts and crafts, sing-alongs and swimming are typical summer camp activities, but increasingly, programs are adding an academic component.

It may not look like summer camp, but that is just fine with these campers, as they learn cool things to do with computers.

"We learned about how to make a meme, and you can use a computer to make any video game," said Aldo Huerta, camp participant.

180 middle schoolers were treated to the latest in a series of so-called "code parties", this time at the Bronx YMCA.

The party starts with learning how to use a website-building tool called "X-ray Goggles".

"You get to see all the individual elements and then you can remix them, so you can change the images and change the text to really make it your won and start to understand that you have agency to actually make it your own and create what's on the web," said Lainie DeCoursy, Hive Learning Network.

"It will help me when I'm bigger. I could easily know how to do it," said Rachael Marte, camp participant.

This is a collaboration between The Greater New York YMCA, the Department of Education's Summer Quest Program and The Hive; an umbrella organization for dozens of not-for-profit groups.

Because recent studies have shown an increase in the problem of what's called "summer learning loss", more and more camps have added academic components to their programs.

"It can't be just playing all summer long. You can't just be hanging out on the street anymore; we need to be doing so much more. So any major agency that's running any sort of quality camp program is going to be infusing academic learning in some way," said Marty Forth, Senior Program Director.

The kids do get time for activities like swimming, but even they seem to understand the importance of summer learning.

"Some of the kids in our school don't do the stuff that they're supposed to, so it helps us by learning new things that we never knew before," said Kylia Browne, camp participant.

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