Well, it might feel like winter is just beginning around here, but it’s actually time to start thinking about summer camps for the kids! I’m excited that “Adventure Wild Day Camp” has become a site sponsor. I believe their emphasis on outdoor education is a perfect fit for Portland Family Adventures. Many parents from East Multnomah county have to drive kids into Portland for camps. This camp is offered in Gresham, which will surely cut down on your driving. Here is an excerpt of an interview I did with the camp director Jennifer Basham.
Who are you and what do you do with Adventure Wild Day Camp?
My name is Jennifer Basham and I am currently the Director for Adventure WILD Summer Day Camp. I have been working in educational and camp settings for the past 15 years. I have worked in formal special education classrooms and informal settings of Outdoor School, Camp Collins, Oregon Zoo and other environmental programs, ultimately becoming a Site Supervisor for the Adams Outdoor School. During that time I learned valuable lessons in teaching, child support, community building, and leadership.
While on a hiatus from environmental education, I decided to pursue a formal teaching license. Once in the classroom, I developed lessons that engaged and allowed students to construct their knowledge through authentic and hands on activities. Although, I loved working within the traditional school setting, I found that my true passion is in supporting children to develop a love of learning and discovery while building their awareness as stewards for our environment.
Tell our readers a bit about the Adventure Wild Day Camp. Specifically, what distinguishes your camp from other day camps?
At Adventure WILD Summer Day Camp, we believe that authentic learning takes place when children are able to investigate and interact with the world around them. Nature is our playground and children are encouraged to WONDER, INQUIRE, LEARN and DISCOVER about their surroundings. Through thematic and guided activities with experienced educators, children will laugh, learn, and make memories to last a lifetime.
The other distinctive aspect of our program is that it is set in the heart of East Multnomah County. As the program was being developed, we spoke with many families who travel into Portland from Corbett, Sandy, and Gresham to go to a summer day camp. Through a partnership with Centennial School District, we are providing a quality day camp option for parents throughout East Multnomah County that is affordable and closer to home.
Not only will children have an amazing time at Adventure WILD summer day camp, all of the proceeds of summer camp will work to benefit a part of Oregon’s heritage, Outdoor School. More about the amazing program we are benefiting:
Since 1966, Outdoor School is a program where students in sixth grade spend a week during the school year in a residential outdoor setting, learning hands-on and authentic science concepts. Through this weeklong program, students are truly able to immerse themselves in their surroundings and community and “unplug” from their technology filled lives.
For many sixth graders, Outdoor School is their first experience where they can live and learn science in the outdoors for an extended time. Unlike any other educational experience, Outdoor School science reaches through the magnifying lens to stimulate and engage students’ senses. Science is dashing between the rocks as students search for signs of life, or crumbling between their fingers as soil is examined for particles. These experiences are far more life changing than any textbook lesson can achieve in the classroom.
Not only do sixth graders benefit from this program, high school students are given the opportunity and responsibility to teach and lead the sixth graders through the week of curriculum. These volunteer Student Leaders gain immeasurable skills in leadership, mentorship, teaching and confidence in their ability to make a difference in the lives of others, often returning many times to create a greater impact in the lives of others.
As with many programs in our public schools, funding for this engaging and vital program has begun to dwindle. Our hope is through the proceeds of the Adventure WILD Summer Camp, we will be able to support Outdoor School by offsetting the cost to the districts. For more information regarding the Adventure WILD Summer Camp go to www.adventurewild.org or to find out how you can contribute to the Friends of Outdoor School go to friendsofoutdoorschool.org.
Your age range for day campers is pretty large (pre-k through 4th grade). Will the grades be separated, or will the children interact together in mixed-age-groups?
Yes, the camps will be separated by grade level. Each grade level will have two staff members dedicated to facilitating the age-appropriate program activities. Our themes and activities will support the Oregon State Standards for science to bolster the educational outcomes for students who will be entering each of the grades. Our goal is to not only provide an exemplary educational and fun program for students, but to hopefully prevent the “Summer Slide”(the term used to describe the loss of academic skills during the vacation months). The maximum ratio will be about 7:1, and in Pre K-K it will be 6:1.
If a child just finished 4th grade, are they still eligible?
Currently our program is for children who will be entering Pre-K to 4th grade in the Fall 2012. However, our goal is to extend our program next summer to include students entering 5th grade if we have a large interest from the community this summer. I would be thrilled for the program to reach as many students as possible.
Please let me know if you have any other questions regarding the summer camp, or need anything from me. My phone number is 503-512-9453.
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