Dream Camp returns for fun and in-person education
For over 160 school-aged students, life has returned to a certain sense of normalcy. Students in the Hartford area recently started the summer at Dream Camp, located on the Trinity College campus. The camp, in its 24e year, is an academic mentoring program that provides a fun, educational and safe environment for students from elementary to high school.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the summer 2020 program has unfolded virtually. Students learned from a distance, with home-delivered educational kits and online instructions provided by camp leaders.
“In person was needed,” said Dan Swartz, director of the campsite. “We were hoping to be able to do Dream Camp in person this year, and with the increase in vaccinations, we were able to do it safely. We wanted to help students who have experienced an academic loss while virtually learning to progress academically. “
According to a recent article by The CT mirror, a Connecticut RISE network report shared that, “Among students who attend school fully online, 46% failed at least two courses, compared to 26% of those who attend classes partially in person and at home.” However, it may still be too early to assess the amount of education lost during the pandemic.
This year, Dream Camp was only able to accept 160 students, as opposed to its typical enrollment of 260. To follow state guidelines and protect students and its staff, the program chose to reduce the number of students. of 100 and reduce its class capacity to 15 people or less, including counselors. Students and staff are also required to wear masks indoors.
“Students have been learning virtually for about a year and a half,” Swartz said. “We want to help fight any academic loss experienced by students. We have STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] courses for students in grades 1 to 4 and in grades 5 and up. We also teach music and offer sports such as basketball, soccer, handball and soccer. Students also learn to live healthily and eat.
Paul Raether, ’68, H’14, P’93, ’96, ’01, Dream Camp founder and longtime supporter, said he was “very happy” to see Dream Camp operate in person again. this year. “The resources provided by the camp help educate and engage students in new experiences during the summer, when learning can often decline,” he said. “We are extremely grateful to Trinity for providing their facilities again this summer and helping us make Dream Camp an in-person experience. Our campers are very happy to be back on campus.
Dream Camp has kept one of its learning tools from its virtual courses: the KiwiCo. crates, a subscription-based kit that offers creative science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM) activities for kids. The kits help students participate in arts and design, imaginative play, and work to develop fine and gross motor skills. KiwiCo. the boxes are sent to the students’ homes, so that learning and innovation can continue beyond camp hours. Students build different models, including robots and flashlights, with the custom kits.
“Dream Camp provides a consistent, safe and comfortable place for students. A lot of the advisers here have been here for over 10 years, ”Swartz said. “We don’t do babysitting; children learn here, they receive character lessons and learn respect and community.
Dream Camp is a year round program. Its after-school program will begin in October. Families can start enrolling in the program in August by contacting Dream Camp.