Camps help keep kids’ brains ac­tive over the sum­mer

Newark Post - - Local News - Kaitlin Klair

The count­down has be­gun, and stu­dents and teach­ers can­not wait for that last bell to ring.

A three-month break from school is some­thing that ev­ery teacher and stu­dent looks for­ward to, but there are some down­sides to be- ing off a sched­ule and out of a learn­ing en­vi­ron­ment for those three months.

The U.S. De­part­ment of Ed­u­ca­tion has done stud­ies that found kids can lose up to 25 per­cent of their read­ing skills and show a de­cline in math skills over the sum­mer months. The ef­fects of this are ev­i­dent the fol­low­ing school year when teach­ers rou­tinely use the first three to four weeks to re-teach in­for­ma­tion that the stu­dents for­got over the sum­mer.

Nowa­days, there are many sum­mer pro­grams avail­able to keep youth en­gaged, ac­tive and in­volved with the learn­ing process. One of many ways to in­crease knowl­edge through­out the sum­mer is to at­tend a camp. Sum­mer camp is a place where ev­ery child has the op­por­tu­nity to learn valu­able life skills.

There are camps for ev­ery type of in­ter­est, whether is it sports, en­vi­ron­men­tal, ro­bot­ics, an­i­mal science or a gen­eral in­ter­est camp. In a unique learn­ing en­v­i­ron- ment, youth are able to en­gage in ac­tiv­i­ties that al­low them to learn about team­work, lead­er­ship, and build self-es­teem. All of th­ese qual­i­ties help youth flour­ish dur­ing the school year.

Camps pro­vide struc­tured learn­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties as a part of their daily ac­tiv­i­ties. It could be an an­i­mal science class, where youth learn about the life cy­cle and food sys­tems, or a small en­gines class, where they take apart and re­build an en­gine. Which­ever it may be, youth are in­volved in learn­ing ex­pe­ri­ences that will keep their minds sharp.

Chil­dren who at­tend a camp might even dis­cover a pos­si­ble ca­reer path they hadn’t con­sid­ered. In ad­di­tion to in­creas­ing knowl­edge over the sum­mer, youth also de­velop life skills such as re­spon­si­bil­ity, re­source­ful­ness, cit­i­zen­ship, car­ing, com­mu­ni­ca­tion and play­time. The Amer­i­can Academy of Pe­di­atrics has stated that play is an in­te­gral part of learn­ing as it con­trib­utes to the cog­ni­tive growth of chil­dren. What bet­ter place to play than a sum­mer camp?

For more in­for­ma­tion about 4-H sum­mer camps in your area visit: http:// ex­ten­sion. udel. edu/ 4h/ new-cas­tle-county-4-h-youthde­vel­op­ment/ 4h- camps- in­new-cas­tle-county/

Kaitlin Klair is 4-H youth de­vel­op­ment co­or­di­na­tor for the Univer­sity of Delaware Co­op­er­a­tive Ex­ten­sion. She and her col­leagues write a pe­ri­odic col­umn for the Newark Post.

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