Students in Catalina Foothills School District Community Schools Summer Camps expressed creativity, developed new skills, and increased problem-solving abilities with activities ranging from cake decorating to photography and yoga this summer.
About 150 to 200 students in Tucson each week took part in weekly morning and afternoon summer camps that interested them from June 6 through July 22, and had fun working as a team, building relationships and developing skills that will help them achieve success in the classroom and in life, said Mary Grodman, district program coordinator for Catalina Foothills Community Schools.
We’ve had a Summer Camp program up here in the Foothills for over 20 years,” Grodman said. “We scaled down a bit during the pandemic, and now we’re trying to build up our programs to what they used to be.”
“We wanted to make sure that students in our district had something fun and enriching to do over the summer,” Grodman said noting the program is open to the whole Tucson community.
AZEdNews Video: Students express creativity at Catalina Foothills Summer Camps
Video edited by Renée Romo/ AZEdNews & shot by Lisa Irish/ AZEdNews
“We are doing everything from sports camp – this week we actually have our lacrosse camp – we’re doing photography programs, we’re doing theater programs, we are doing a ton of cooking programs – the kids really enjoy the cooking programs,” Grodman said.
“We have STEM classes, we have classes about Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. We’re open to doing chess programs and puzzles and games – anything you know a student might be interested in,” Grodman said.
“This is a great space to kind of have a mellow, learning experience while still having fun,” Grodman said.
Students just finishing kindergarten through eighth grade attended the fee-based Summer Camps at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson and pre-school and pre-kindergarten students took part in camp activities at Valley View Early Learning Center in Tucson.
The program has changed over the years, “we used to have one-hour classes and the kids would change each hour” now Catalina Foothills Community Schools Summer Camps have more of a three-hour block format with an hour for lunch and recess between morning and afternoon sessions, Grodman said.
Families can also enroll their students in extended hours in the morning from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. and in the afternoon from 4 p.m. to 5 p.m., Grodman said.
High school age students had options to take part in an online ACT preparation course, driver’s education classroom and behind the wheel training, volunteer as a junior counselor at summer camp, or take part in football speed and agility camp.
Summer learning programs are important to students, “because it keeps kids engaged, they get to make new friends, they get to learn new things,” Grodman said.
“We had a kindergartener who decided this week, he wanted to take a knitting class and his Mom was surprised,” Grodman said.
“It is really just a good opportunity for kids to be able to dabble in different things that they don’t get during the school day, and that maybe they don’t get in an after-school program.”