Welcome to our new blog series, Voices of Summer. In this series, we’ll present stories and insights from summer learning practitioners and the communities they serve. We all know high-quality summer and afterschool programs can change the trajectory of a young person’s life. Years of research has shown us that participation in high-quality summer learning programs can improve children’s reading and math skills, engagement in school, motivation, and relationships with adults and peers.
Our guest bloggers provide real-life solutions for program staff, and ideas to bring families and communities into the larger summer learning conversation, while enhancing engagement with stakeholders. If you operate a program or have a summer learning experience you would like to share, we invite you to submit a post to us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Use Voices of Summer in the subject line of your email. Entries must be 1000 words or less. Please note, because of the number of entries we may receive, NSLA cannot guarantee your submission will be published in any given month. Also, by submitting a guest post, you agree it may be edited for length.
For many nonprofits, the ability to come together in-person – to hold hands, to hug, to connect is mission-critical. Inherently, nonprofits are in the business of human connectedness. Yet, since March, we have been challenged to create meaningful connections online. I am proud of the work Community Tampa Bay has done to pivot its in-person programming to an online world and cultivate meaningful human connection.
We’ve been running our flagship summer day camp, Camp EDMO®, and year-round after school programs in Northern California since 2004. When COVID-19 forced the closures of California schools in March of 2020, our EDMO team took on the design challenge of a lifetime. It was a whirlwind to remodel and restructure all of our programs to keep our organization going. With a dedicated volunteer staff, The EDMO Method, and a little faith in humanity, we made it happen.
Since schools and childcare centers closed in March, afterschool and summer programs across the country have found creative ways to continue to serve students, families, and their communities. From virtual programming to caring for children of essential workers to providing and delivering meals to families in need, I have watched as programs have stepped up in these uncertain times to provide for children and families who are facing unprecedented challenges in all aspects of life.
Is there anything better than making lists? I love crossing things off the to-do list, reminding myself of what’s coming my way and always, always anticipating the magic of summer. Because of Aim High, summer is my full-time job. I’m Alec Lee, executive director and co-founder of the Bay Area’s largest summer learning program for low-income middle school students. Below are a few reminders for me and my team about the power of summer learning, as we prepare for “Summer Number 35!”—because we all know that time of year will be here before we know it!