|Full summer camp photo album on Flickr.|
DC SCORES Communications Intern
Every summer camp is a little different. Activities vary, staff differs, plans can change. But at DC SCORES summer camp at Marie Reed, there are 14 high school students who serve as a staple to the program.
DC SCORES employs Summer Youth Employment Program (SYEP) workers at each of our camp locations. I’ve been lucky enough to work alongside these students, many of whom are DC SCORES alumni.
The SYEP members are specifically chosen. Emily Schulman, DC SCORES Community Outreach Coordinator, hired each student because they “understand responsibility” and “are willing to step up to the plate to create a fun, safe, exciting atmosphere for these kids.”
Not only do these adolescents understand responsibility, but they also embrace it. Many of the SYEP members have been campers and understand how the program works. They remember what it’s like to look up to the high school counselors. Because of that, they do everything in their power to be good role models for these kids.
Ana, a student at Bell High School and a SYEP member, remembers her experience at DC SCORES.
“I always got excited that we knew what [DC SCORES] was expecting from us,” she said.
Now as a summer counselor, she holds those same expectations for the kids who have come after her.
This isn’t just a summer job for these young adults. It’s a summer of giving back to a program that gave them so much.
In addition to giving back, these high school students are moving forward. Working at a DC SCORES summer camp prepares the students for their future endeavors.
Claudia, a recent graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School, told me, “One of my goals is to become a pediatrician some day and this is a great start.”
For many SYEP workers, this summer separates their high school years from their entrance into college. For others, being a DC SCORES counselor is something they plan to add to their college applications in the near future.
I asked a few of the SYEP members to give me their experience with this DC SCORES summer in one word:
As a staff member at Marie Reed's six-week soccer and arts camp, I experience those same emotions but in a much different way. The relationship our high school counselors are building with the campers is unlike any relationship I ever could build with the students. They’re from the same neighborhoods. The SYEP members were involved in DC SCORES at schools that some of our campers currently attend. They can share stories of different coaches or teachers that both have experienced.
I can strive for those kinds of relationships with the kids, but at the end of the day, I’m still on the outside. I never experienced DC SCORES as a participant like many of the SYEP members did. The relationships they’re building with these kids are meaningful because they give the campers a glimpse into the people they can become.
All of these kids have a bright future -- the campers and the SYEP members. Schulman is confident they can do anything in the world,
“They’re responsible and capable and shouldn’t forget that … they’re all capable of doing really great things," she said.
For the SYEP members, they're already on their way.