From reading great books and sailing in the Keys to racing rockets and exploring careers, more than 23,900 kids enjoyed a jam-packed summer of fun, growth and learning at the Y.
Families were involved, too, through Fun Friday activities, Reader’s Theater performances, athletic events, swim lessons, field trips and family fitness challenges – not to mention livelier dinner conversations as kids shared their daily adventures. With so much going on, we wanted to share a few highlights.
Reversing Summer Learning Loss – 8 Million Minutes at a Time
To help kids progress – not regress – with summertime learning, the Y’s camp curriculum included at least 60 minutes of daily reading time, as well as comparable amounts of time devoted to values, wellness and strengthening families. When you add it up, the outcomes are incredible. In fact, 82% of campers with “high attendance” increased their reading proficiency by 3 months – or one week of progress for every week of camp.
8.0 Million Minutes of Reading To help close the achievement gap
3.8 Million Minutes of Values To combat school violence and bullying
8.5 Million Minutes of Wellness To prevent childhood obesity
4,936 Camp Time Family Visits To strengthen family bonds
Five Months of Reading Gains in Just Six Weeks
Thanks to the Y’s partnership with Chase and Orange County Public Schools, 1,245 youth from 10 local middle schools advanced to higher levels of reading through the Y’s Summer Climb Reading Program.
Launched as a successful pilot last year, the program combines iPads, digital reading labs and high-interest topics to engage kids while gradually challenging and boosting their reading levels. Early outcomes show that 2014 results outpaced last year’s success, when students achieved five months of reading gains in just six weeks.
Soar With Reading
For more than 400 elementary school kids, camp kicked off with the Soar with Reading event, sponsored by Orange County Public Schools, Jet Blue and Orlando City Soccer. In keeping with the World Cup theme, campers received a copy of that latest Magic Tree House book, “Soccer on Sunday.”
Y Rocket Scientists
With a future as bright as the stars, Alexander Ortiz from Union Park Middle School advanced to the national rocket championships in Huntsville Alabama thanks to a first-place showing in the YMCA’s 2014 Rocket Competition. Alexander was one of 189 middle school students taking part in the Y event, sponsored by Orange County Public Schools, NASA and The American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics (AIAA).
Proving that summer learning can be fun, hundreds of Y campers took part in Reader’s Theater, an integrated literacy program that encourages students to write scripts, act and produce plays based on their favorite books. As an added bonus, parents were invited to attend “opening night” performances.
According to his mom, “My son used to be terrified of the water. Within two weeks of being in camp, he went from being a beginner to intermediate swimmer who no longer needs a life jacket. Jordan has gained so much confidence. As a parent, that puts a huge smile on my face. I couldn’t be happier with the Y’s impact on my son.”
YMCA Christian Values Conference
More than 140 teens and youth mentors joined with peers from around the country to share their faith during the Y’s annual Christian Values Conference in the Blue Ridge Mountains. It was the largest delegation ever from our Y, which keeps our Christian mission front and center.
Reaching Higher at Wewa
As it has for decades, YMCA Camp Wewa inspired more than 1,250 youth grow in spirit, mind and body this summer. Rich traditions that nurture leadership, values and exploration combine to create a great residential camping experience that’s shaped generations of Central Floridians. New this year: Two 16-foot climbing walls with cascading water. Like all Wewa activities, they encouraged kids to try new challenges and always reach higher.
To combat childhood obesity and foster healthy habits, Y campers were challenged to trade chips, candy and soda for fresh fruit, vegetables and water. Based on the numbers ─ and a little healthy competition ─ we tracked 189,558 nutritious meals and snacks.
Planning for Careers
Middle-school students at the Osceola Y learned about careers, college and vocational training through Career Exploration Camp. Sponsored by Bank of America, the two-week program included information on dual high-school enrollments, networking and interviewing, as well as visits to local employers.