In July 8 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
Another successful summer of Russell County Schools' Summer Day Camp has ended, according to Susan Melton, who helped oversee the camp that ran through the month of June.
The sixth year of the camp came to a head last week and saw approximately 90 county students from kindergarten through sixth grade enrolled. This year's theme was "Under the Sea," according to Melton.
Russell County Schools Family Resource Centers, the 21st Century Community Learning Center, School Nutrition and the Lake Cumberland Health Department have worked together to bring local children this service and it continues to grow.
Melton said Russell County Schools are one of only 10 statewide summer programs invited to participate in the Johns Hopkins educational research program each summer.
Russell County Schools' Summer Day Camp has also been selected as a model program for learning, she said.
"Johns Hopkins stated to us that we had one of the strongest programs in the state," Melton said.
She said that the purpose of the program is not only to provide a safe environment while parents are at work but to increase hands-on extended learning during the summer months.
Melton stressed the fact that research proves students who have a break from the traditional school setting for an extended period of time lose a percentage of academic skills attained during the school year.
She said the summer day camp helped maintain and increase academic skills through the summer months.
With this year's theme, students were able to participate in such activities as shell sorting and making their own PowerPoint presentation about a sea animal. Kids also learned about sea animal characteristics and habitat through critical thinking, reading, math, and art activities according to David Miller, a teacher at the camp.
This year's day camp was held at the Russell County Schools Auditorium / Natatorium Complex for the first time to help accommodate folks and keep the program centrally located.
"The kids had the pool, the auditorium, the cafeteria, the track," she said. "It just helped the parents more than anything."
School Nutrition also provided free meals to the students involved with the camp. There was a daily fee for students to cover afternoon field trips activities, Melton said.
The students also participated in the "longest day of play" during the camp at the Wolf Creek National Fish Hatchery. That event coincided with national learning day and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service helped provide numerous learning materials to the children and even took them into a real marshland to check out the habitat, according to Lisa Tarter, another teacher working the camp.
Melton said this program could not be without the support of parents, community partners and volunteers as well as the youth workers, teachers and assistants who provided valuable role modeling to the children.
She also sent out a special thanks to the Russell County Board of Education, board members and former Superintendent Scott Pierce for their continued support with putting on the day camp as well as the camp's bus driver, Mary Beth Popplewell.
For information on the program contact Susan Melton-21st CCLC Project Director at 270-866-6300 or 270-343-3191 or Jan Brumley and Phil Carney-Family Resource Center coordinators 866-3586 or 343-2056