Learning doesn’t stop when the school year ends. In fact, through summer camps, students experience a myriad of educational opportunities combined with plenty of hands-on fun outdoors.
At Bloomfield Hills Schools, the district offers a wide variety of summer camps beginning in June that keep children fulfilled all summer long, says Mark White, the Bloomfield Hills Schools Athletics, Recreation & Community Services program supervisor.
Want your children to create fun and engaging art projects, or learn skills by playing sports? With three main activity camps including Sports and Adventure, Huck Finn, and Bloomfield Summer Fun, children from pre-kindergarten through seventh grade can do it all. There are also two additional camps geared at students in fourth through seventh grade.
Before- or after-care options – beginning at 7:15 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. respectively – are offered to make things easier for parents who are working and may not be able to arrive or leave early.
The activity-based camps are held in the West Hills Middle School,which sits on a property adjacent to Walnut Lake in West Bloomfield. Campers have access to Walnut Lake during summer camp.
“The kids participate and go through rotations throughout the day and Thursday they have a field trip day – and go on different trips locally,” White says. “We have a beach staffed with lifeguards, and the campers can go canoeing, paddleboarding, and more. The kids do go down to the water three to four days a week.”
There are plenty of opportunities for campers to learn through continued socialization, arts and crafts and more, White adds.
Alan Jaros, the director of Bowers School Farm, agrees. He says that camps have evolved into an experience where fun meets engagement and academic achievement.
But what impact does the summer experience have on academic achievement levels? Research suggests a significant summer learning loss occurs, also referred to as “brain drain.” Most at risk are math and science proficiency, which show the most significant decrease over the three months of summer break.
Generally, when students have opportunities to practice learned concepts, they are more able to retain knowledge they have acquired. Summertime is built for a break from school, but that doesn’t mean they should take a complete break from practicing what they learned. Summer camps allows students to have the opportunity to learn new concepts while strengthening what they already know.
Life on a working farm
At Bowers School Farm Camp, hands-on farm activities and informal STEM education with fun are integrated. From giving goats a bath to getting their hands dirty in the garden, campers will experience every aspect of the working farm.
Campers will spend time harvesting from the garden, utilizing the fresh fruit and vegetables to make healthy snacks, helping with daily animal care such as milking goats and gathering eggs, as well as exploring all that their 90 acres has to offer.
Farm activities emphasize the local food system as well as the roles that fresh produce, animals, and people play within that system through fun and engaging experiences for all ages.
Week-long sessions for campers between the ages of 6 and 14 years old and two- or three-day sessions for children between 3 and 5 are offered. Camp sessions will run every week from June 22 to Aug. 21.
They also offer volunteer opportunities for high school students to serve as stewards throughout camp. Stewards will serve in a leadership capacity and their responsibilities will include setting up for and assisting with activities and group management.
“Our camp families love that their children are able to connect with nature and agriculture and gain new life experiences during farm camp,” Jaros says. “We strive to offer a unique experience to each and every camper that comes through our doors.
“Our time together is a time to disconnect from technology and social media and, in turn, connect with each other through our shared experiences each week,” Jaros says. “In a world where we are increasingly disconnected from our surroundings and each other, camp encourages children to step out of their comfort zones and see the world from a different perspective.”
For more information on summer camps at Bloomfield Hills Schools, call 248-433-0885 or visit www.bloomfield.org/rec-signup.