On a hot June day in Velda City, children are finding their superpowers.
Robyn Drew, a retired educator, guides elementary school students through a series of math-related scenarios in the garden outside The Legacy Center in Velda City. Students learn about how far apart plants should be placed in the garden, how much water they need, and more.
Drew says that her superpower is math, and by the time the summer is out, she hopes these students will also find what they’re great at. They’ll even make capes — which will teach them how to measure area and perimeter.
It’s just another day at the All Around the World summer camp, operated by Unleashing Potential and hosted at The Legacy Center. The free camp includes dozens of children from the 24:1, and it’s already exceeding expectations.
“I had no idea it would be this great,” Drew said. “It is amazing. The kids, the young people are so responsive to all my quirky ideas and who I am. They just grab onto it.”
Drew is one of the many educators involved with the camps. The students in attendance, including 8-year-old Monty Witherspoon, said the educators have been easy to get along with, and they’re finding ways to make learning entertaining.
“Everyone’s fun, caring and kind,” Witherspoon said. “We learn, and it’s not in that kind of, like, school way. It’s in a fun way.”
That’s one of the main aims of summer camp, is to give students a more experiential learning experience instead of classroom-based learning that they get during the school year. Drew said these lessons are sticking with students because they can relate to them. All students have had tomatoes before, Drew said, so when they’re planting tomatoes and figuring out how to make them grow, they understand what they’re working for.
Maya Harris, program assistant for Unleashing Potential, said it’s been a very positive environment and students have been receptive to the hands-on lessons.
“Summer camps in general are a great way for young learners to continue the learning process while also having an active way of releasing energy,” Harris said. “I appreciate that it’s free to the community here at the Legacy Center.”
Legacy Center Director of Programs Dr. Aisha Grace and Harris both agreed that having this free opportunity in the 24:1 is hugely beneficial for the area. Harris said the fact that these students are outside playing will probably generate interest from those driving by.
Grace said feedback from parents has also been positive.
“Parents have been very excited and appreciative about the fact that it’s in this community, in this neighborhood,” Grace said.
Harris echoed those thoughts, saying free camps like this are beneficial for the whole family, whether they’re the ones in attendance or not.
“It’s a respite for both parents and kids,” Harris said. “It’s something to do out of the house. The awesome thing about this is they get to engage socially, make new friends and learn a lot during the summer by experiential learning, so we make it fun to learn.”
To learn more about The Legacy Center visit legacystl.org.