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Thursday, July 22, 2010

Students keep minds fresh through summer camp opportunities

As the summer wears on, hundreds of students are staying active through DC SCORES’ three camps – and by active, I mean also keeping their minds working.

There’s no doubt that when school lets out in June, students look forward to a blissfully relaxing break from homework – didn’t we all? New research shows, however, that the progress students make throughout the school year can quickly be undone if their minds are not stimulated in the months out of the classroom.

In fact, studies show that it can take up to two to three months for a student to relearn what they forgot during their time off. Children from disparate income levels are also shown to retain knowledge at different levels due to the amount of resources -- i.e. time and money -- their parents invest in planning for an active and engaging summer.

Students from low-income households are more likely to stay at home while their parents work all day. More wealthy families can afford to take summer trips or sign their kids up for remedial summer programs or camps.

The way students spend their summers is one of the biggest factors contributing to the widening education gap in the U.S., which is why participating in free summer camps can significantly improve a student’s success during the school year.

Not only do students benefit from the mental stimulation of summer learning programs or camps, but they are also more likely to maintain a healthy weight. With the high popularity of video games and online activity, kids are not as prone to spending their daylight hours playing outside like previous generations. Because of the lack of structured play time and meals, “children gain body mass index (BMI) nearly twice as fast during the summer as during the school year.”

To thwart the negative effects to a student's health and education, participating in summer camps is incredibly important -- especially for children from underprivileged communities.

Thanks to funding from the Office of the Deputy Mayor for Economic Planning and Development and the DC Children & Youth Investment Trust Corporation, DC SCORES is offering three camps this summer, keeping our poet-athletes across the city engaged, active and having fun – all while keeping their minds fresh and ready for the upcoming school year.

*Research taken from the National Summer Learning Association.

-- Written by Beth Morrison, Communications & Development Assistant

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