While all children benefit from attending Camp Scully, lower-income children benefit the most. During the summer when school is out and many lower-income children are left unsupervised, Camp provides an environment with appropriate boundaries, structure and expectations with constructive, healthy activities and choices, and support to help them stay committed to education and learning. Without involvement in the positive and enriching activities such as those that can be found at Camp Scully, many children from lower-income families suffer from “summer learning loss,” the loss of several months of knowledge during the summer months.
The Camp Scully Financial Assistance Program strives to help under-served youth:
- Build basic life skills
- Develop positive views of themselves and hope for their future
- Develop an excitement for learning and an interest in life-long education
When children bring these new skills, positive outlooks, and passion for learning back home, it is good for families, communities, and ultimately society.
Case for Camp Scully:
Campfires. Canoes. Crafts. Images of summer camp are an enduring part of the American psyche. Indeed, if baseball is America’s pastime, camp must be its most cherished summer memory. Since 1920, the Camp Scully experience has shaped the lives of many thousands of children from the region. Created in the early part of the last century as a wholesome way to reconnect urban children with nature, give them some basic healthcare and some hearty meals, Camp has evolved alongside American society to become more diverse and more inclusive. Today Camp Scully provides children, youth, and adults with supportive relationships, the opportunity for new experiences in nature, and broad skill development relevant to future life success. Experts recognize camps as playing a vital role in human development, and as a critical part of the educational path of young people in the United States. As Charles Elliot, a former president of Harvard University said, “I have a conviction that a few weeks spent in a well-organized summer camp may be of more value educationally than a whole year of formal school work.”
How Under-served Children Benefit From Camp:
For lower-income children, camp is more than just a fun experience away from home: It is a proven tool to foster self confidence, independence, learning, environmental awareness, and health.
Research from the American Camp Association, of which we are an accredited part, shows that camp is better than many formal education settings and after-school programs at:
- Building self confidence: 92 percent of youth surveyed reported that camp helped them “feel good about themselves”; while 70 percent of parents see their children gain self-confidence at camp.
- Fostering diversity: 94 percent said they got to know campers who were different from them.
- Building friendships: 96 percent reported that camp helped them make new friends.
- Supplying supportive peer and adult relationships: 69 percent of campers experienced developmentally optimal levels of support.
Other benefits of camp include:
Bridging the achievement gap. A strong body of evidence supports the conclusion that nearly all young people experience learning loss during the summer. Low-income students are disproportionately affected. While most students—regardless of income—lose math skills over the summer, low-income students also lose reading achievement, even as their middle-class peers gain. Moreover, some research blames unequal access to summer learning and enrichment opportunities for a full two-thirds of the achievement gap between lower- and higher-income youth. As a result, low-income youth are less likely to graduate from high school or enter college. Camp provides learning and enrichment opportunities for disadvantaged children throughout the summer, thus building the foundation for their long-term academic success.
Promoting healthy lifestyles. Childhood obesity is a serious health issue that increases a child’s risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even decreased life expectancy. One-third of American children are overweight or obese, and poor children are more likely to be overweight. Most children—particularly those children at high risk for obesity—gain weight more rapidly when they are out of school during summer break.The good news is that children can adopt healthy habits for life if they are taught early. Camp helps promotes healthy lifestyle choices by providing children with opportunities for a range of physical activities and nutritious food.
Connection to nature. Nature-based recreation among children and adults is declining in the United States, and experts blame the increase of sedentary activities involving electronic media. Youths between the ages of 8 and 18 spend an average of 6.5 hours a day with electronic media—more than 45 hours a week. Not coincidentally, children today spend less time playing outdoors. In a typical week, only 6 percent of children ages 9-13 play outside on their own. The situation is even more serious in many impoverished neighborhoods, where playing outside can expose children to drug activity, gangs or other negative situations. When children remain strangers to the outdoors, they lack an understanding of nature and the world in which they live. Camp exposes children to nature and helps them to develop a realistic, experience-based perspective on the importance of nature in their lives. In fact, the majority of parents report that their children are more aware of, and caring toward, the environment after attending camp.
Camp provides children with invaluable skills, friendships, and fun. It is a place where children learn about themselves, about nature, and about being part of a larger community. All children deserve to go to camp. But far too many miss out on this experience because their families cannot afford it. With your support, Camp Scully will be able to send even more deserving children to camp. Your support will help us provide scholarship funding, program materials and training of camp staff, because proper preparation is vital for camp staff to create outstanding camp experiences for youths from all backgrounds.
Please join Camp Scully in creating more opportunities for all children to attend camp. Together, we can enrich lives.
If you are on board with our mission, please take a moment to do something about it. Make a tax-deductible donation to Camp Scully today so we may continue to provide the summer camp experience to children who live in poverty in our own backyards. It's a great way to Give Locally to contribute to the Greater Good for everyone in the region.
Please call (518) 512-3577 and say you would like to donate to Camp Scully.