Jubilee Housing’s Youth Services wrapped up their six week summer programming in July. During those six weeks, Jubilee’s Early Start (ES) campers and Activity Zone (ES) campers went on swimming trips, canoed along the river, learned to cook nutritious meals, and made arts and crafts, just to name a few things.
Audrey Walker, Director of Youth Services, with the help of her team, ensured that along with providing the campers with recreational activities, they were also exposed to a program that included academic enrichment. Walker said, “The curriculums we used this summer were Space Ranger (STEAM), Second Step, a social-emotional curriculum, Civic and Social Engagement, and Literacy.”
As part of their civic and social engagement, campers participated in social-learning projects.
Early Start campers chose to support the homeless through their project. From the beginning, campers led their service-learning project; they chose what organizations to work with and even which shelter to direct their donations. Kaitlin Very, Early Start Coordinator, said, “They really were involved in every step of the process.” Campers made flyers to advertise their donation drive and held a popsicle stand, to raise funds. All donations and proceeds from the stand were donated to Christ House, a nonprofit residential medical facility for homeless individuals.
With the slogan “We Need a Solution for Water Pollution,” Activity Zone campers addressed water pollution in our community. Just like Early Start campers, Activity Zone campers were involved in every step of their service-learning project. Emmanuel Gbajobi, Activity Zone Coordinator, said, “[…] one pointer I took from why they chose water pollution was based on their own knowledge of the harmful waste that continues to contaminate our waters.” Campers raised $160 from selling handcrafted bracelets and pins. All proceeds were donated directly to the nonprofit 4oceans.
Throughout the summer programing, Activity Zone campers also attended weekly swimming lessons at American University and free-swim at Banneker Pool. Jumoke Patterson, Activity Zone Associate, said, “Learning to swim is an essential life skill that [campers] can and will take with them into adulthood.” These lessons were to prepare campers for their much awaited field trip: a canoe trip in the Shenandoah Valley! The trip has become more than just a tradition for campers and staff, it has become more of a “right of passage,” said Patterson. The trip allows the campers to get out of the city and experience the true beauty of nature. Patterson said, “Canoeing on the open flat water surrounded by trees, blues skies, Great Blue herons, turtles, and fish can’t be replaced in the memory bank.”
As for the future of Jubilee’s summer programming, “I envision Jubilee’s summer camp creating and developing additional partnerships that will support program goals and objectives. We want to provide the youth with the learning and tools that hopefully will spark interest in STEAM related careers,” said Walker.
By Sahara Bulls
Jubilee Staff Member