Summer Camp Success
Late in the spring, Waterford made the difficult decision to cancel many of the scheduled summer camps in order to allow faculty members to be dedicated to important training and curriculum revision during the summer to be ready for the unique and unprecedented year ahead. What a year to launch a new summer program, and yet we could not have asked for a more successful and joyful time given the circumstances. Three camps remained on the schedule: Two Day Camps—one for Preschool and Kindergarten-aged children and another for 1st and 2nd-grade children, as well as the ever-popular College Essay Writing Workshop.
After much research and planning, as well as coordination with our county health department, we developed a set of careful COVID-19 protocols to follow. These protocols included daily health screenings, temperature checks, masks, avoiding mixing of groups, physical distancing, hand washing, and spending a great deal of time outside. We also set up a large tent on the baseball diamond, which gave us a cool, well-ventilated space to operate outdoors.
During the nine weeks of Day Camp, students from Waterford and several other schools followed a new theme each week: the Sun, Space Exploration, Dirt, Water, Fire, Wind, Animals that Fly and Animals that Move on Land. Their games, field trips, science lessons, music and dance sessions, art projects, etc. were all connected to the weekly theme. These young students had an amazing time being together again, learning and playing. They made new friendships while learning about the world around them. For some it was their first experience with the Waterford community. A number of new students who will join us in the fall had a chance to acclimate to campus and to get to know future classmates. And for all the students, it was an unforgettable summer of science, song, water games, art, silliness, and thinking.
The College Essay Writing Workshop ran during Week 8 of the camp season, and included a week of instruction, brainstorming, writing, sharing, and revision by 21 of our incoming seniors. Under the masterful direction of Casey O’Malley, Academic Dean, and Matt Davis, English Department Chair, students were able to make significant progress on the essays they will submit with their college applications in the fall. Since an increasingly high number of seniors are choosing to apply at the Early Action admissions deadlines in October, getting a head start during the summer has become extremely important.
We teachers were so gratified to see that for both our oldest and youngest students, the COVID-19 protocols did not diminish their enjoyment or achievement. The joy was tangible as they learned and progressed. They proved themselves able to adapt quickly to a different set of procedures. It was simply magical to have the young voices and energy back on campus.