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Monday, July 29, 2013

Summer learning Part III: Several opportunities to learn as individuals and a team

Campers learn about molecules at Marie Reed camp.
This summer, intern Roland Walker is visiting DC SCORES’ four summer camps and talking to participants and counselors about teamwork -- one of the program’s key values -- and what it means to them. View pictures from the camps on our Flickr page and on Facebook.

Written by Roland Walker

Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge. — Plato

Knowledge is power.

Although it may sound cliché, that statement stands true.

Last week at Marie Reed camp, Ms. Tara came in to teach the kids about science.

Ms. Tara taught the kids about molecules using marshmallows and gummy candies, which the kids ate with great speed after the lesson was over.

“A water molecule is made with two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom,” Daniella H. said after Ms. Tara asked the molecular make-up of water.

She also used water, cooking oil and food coloring in order to illustrate how some compounds do not mix.

Over the summer, it’s no secret that students can lose up to two months of academic progress from the school year if they don’t keep their minds engaged. We appreciate Ms. Tara and her efforts to get the children to retain some of the information they learned or teach the children something they never knew.


Kids play in the HEAT at Tubman soccer camp.
The desire to play and the desire to escape are sometimes one in the same.

Everybody periodically gathered around the coolers underneath the tents two weeks ago at Harriet Tubman Middle School for soccer camp.

The two-week camp started Monday, July 15, and the 40 or so kids were fired up.

Water hit the ground, an action that seemed to contradict the hot temperature, as the kids were cooling off their cleats.

The eighth- and ninth-graders took turns on ice and water retrieval in the school.

The temperature heated up near 100 degrees, and all the while the kids’ efforts were at 100 percent.

A rising freshman in high school, Anthony M. explained to me why he loves the sport.

“I started practicing every day and every night when I was 10 after my brother-in-law taught me the history and the basics of the sport,” Anthony said.

Right out of the gate, he was hooked.

“I always carried a ball around,” Anthony said. “It doesn’t matter how the temperature is or how the conditions are.”

Anthony aspires to play Division I college soccer and then amongst the pros.

Playing hard in the heat, all of the kids at Tubman showed pure dedication to the sport.

The desire to improve their skills and have fun motivated the kids to continue to play despite uncomfortable conditions.


Think of a time that you accomplished something of difficulty; grabbing that leadership position, building the courage to ask that special person out, or graduating from college.

Do you remember how you felt?

People of all ages strive for that feeling.

At Tubman camp, over 50 kids showed up for the special scrimmage against the coaches. Although no team of campers defeated the coaches, they showed good sportsmanship and had lots of fun.

Childhood is the time to explore. Experiences are fresh, there is so much to learn, and you are thinking for the first time, “What do I want to be when I grow up?”

“I want to become a doctor,” Alejandra V., participating in her second summer camp, told me.

DC SCORES gives these kids so many opportunities and experiences that more than likely they would not have otherwise. Who knows, maybe a trip to the National Air and Space Museum causes one child to want to build aircrafts later in life.

“When I grow up, I want to be a mathematician,” Ali A. said. “I would like to crunch numbers for engineers companies.”

Learning what it is to be a leader during summer camp may lead one child to strive to be captain of his or her soccer team in high school, or president of his or her class.

The opportunities are endless. Advancement in the lives of these kids stretches beyond what we see, and that is the beauty of teamwork, togetherness and positivity.

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