What does Summer Camp look like at KHCC?
Summer Camp is a very tightly condensed version of our School year programming with a lot more field trips. The trained staff work closely with one another to provide children with the best experience by combining their educational goals with short-term summer goals. Participants have various activities that constantly challenge them to grow as individuals but also as leaders. The structured activities they take part in are: watching movies, learning about teamwork skills, overcoming weekly challenges to win prizes, attending trips (pool, museum, etc.), and making new friends or fortifying previous relationships.
Session 2 happening Aug 1st to Aug 19th.
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Although the purpose of summer camp is to have a good time, we also pride ourselves in ensuring that we provide kids with more than just that. Summer Camp fosters an environment of growth primarily because of our nontraditional spaces. This allows kids to be more productive in their decision-making and learning since they are not constrained by the confines of a typical classroom setting. The staff creates agendas for their activities while keeping space in mind. Questions like, “What does it mean to do this in this space?” or “How could this activity make you feel?” are constantly being asked to provide the kids with a holistic experience. This camp isn’t just about what happens in the Center but also about the things that the participants do outside of the center that contribute to who they are.
KHCC is a community center with workers who are also members of the community it serves. This connection between the staff and the participants has created a level of comfort that isn’t very common. Staff becoming very familiar with families gives them access to an understanding of a participant’s home culture and lifestyle, which can be helpful in preventative services. Transparent conversations between staff, participant, and parent is the perfect gateway to providing the participant with all necessary tools to succeed. This partnership is maintained throughout the year through the Lean on Me initiative, which partners a staff member/intern with a participant to work on their academic and personal goals. The Center has a feeling of “family”, that is not manufactured.
Bianca Perez, Tween Program Coordinator, is currently working in Summer Camp as a group leader. She talks about her experience as a member of our Tween/Teen Programs and her transition to a staff role.
“Tween program was very special to me because it was my getaway from home… It was important to me to do well in the program… I took the opportunity to join Tween Delegate and Youth Council. I was also in Summer Camp. I was a CIT. Counselor in Training. We don’t have that now, but back then we used to have it…While I was a CIT, we would go to Headstart and mentor the kids for about an hour. That was like my first job or responsibility that I had over children… helping children. I was 12 or 13 years old… The Center nominated me for the Comeback Kid Award, [acknowledges students that have overcome challenges and demonstrated improvement over a period of time and who are working hard to improve their future], and that will stay with me forever because I was being recognized by my community during a rough year. It felt like the community noticed me even though I was going through some things. [What does it feel to be back at KHCC as a Staff member?] It’s a full circle moment…I have the opportunity to be to the kids what the staff back then were to me. I appreciate that.“
The participants of Summer Camp have enjoyed everything that they’ve done so far. The activities and trips have been interactive, unique, and “fun!” Although there were some challenges of keeping everyone focused on tasks or behavioral issues that came up as a result of being around other kids, staff were able to reel in the participants with their passion and love for the program. The staff is a major part of why the participants and families attend this program. Below are some participant quotes about their experience and KHCC in general.
“ I like all the games!" ~ Joaquin Cabrera (Group 1)
“I feel happy when I come to KHCC!" ~ MaKenzie Flowers
“Being here gives me a chance to be more active. I get to make friends… go on trips… I’m never bored." ~ Leyla Ortiz (Group 3)
All the programs at KHCC are meant to teach life skills and develop well rounded leaders. Summer Camp prepares the participants to succeed during the school year! This short program pairs perfectly with our other initiatives during the school year. The Teen Center gives them access to a safe environment where they can experiment, learn, and build up skills that are essential in the workforce. The Youth Leadership Council, for highschoolers, and the Tween Delegate Council, for middle schoolers, are fundamental to this process and provides them with a monetary benefit (stipends!). Some of the younger participants may not be thinking about their professional lives, but this program teaches them valuable tools in a fun way. They won’t even realize they’re learning because they’ll be too busy enjoying themselves and making lifelong memories.
Anyone that comes through our red doors, will become part of this family instantly. So, what are you waiting for?