For families that cannot afford childcare or to enroll their kids in summer camp, their children may be left to tend to themselves or take care of their younger siblings for up to 10 hours a day.
As well as obvious safety risks, hunger can be an issue. During the school year, low-income children often qualify for free or reduced breakfast and lunch. Sadly, nearly 80% of those children in our area do not receive assistance during the summer months.
Our Dehon Village Summer Camp delivers a safe summer experience close to home and provides nutritious meals and snacks daily through our summer feeding program for the children of our Dehon Village neighborhood and the surrounding communities.
This year, our summer camp was extended to span the entire summer break, from the beginning of June through late July. Rich with all types of creative and educational activities for children of all ages, the response to this year's camp was overwhelming, illustrating the community need for such a program. More than 50 campers participated.
The recently revitalized Learning Center served as the backdrop for the action-packed eight weeks, which were full of fun and educational activities organized by our new activities coordinator, Juan.
This year we were able to provide opportunities that incorporate a host of cultural venues such as museums, parks and other educational sites for all of the campers without being hindered by their family's inability to pay.
In addition to the field trip experiences, children benefited from a mixture of reading and STEM (science, technology, engineering, and mathematics) instruction that included arts and crafts, and other summer pursuits.
Activities for the Dehon Village Summer Camp coincided with a weekly theme. In the short span of just two months, the campers traveled to outer space and under the sea; learned about prehistoric and present-day animals, learned about local heroes, super heroes and the environment, and competed in their own Olympic games.