The YMCA of Central Florida was front and center during this week’s National Conference on Summer Learning attended by 680 education leaders and experts from around the U.S.
Wowing the crowd were 33 students from Conway Middle, 14 robotic students from Avalon Middle, and numerous students from 14 other schools who proudly presented some of the robotic, rocketry, science, technology, art and music skills they’ve developed through the YMCA After School Zone Program.
Daniel Wu, an 8th grader at Avalon Park Middle School, even delivered a “TED” style speech about the issue of “Summer Slide,” and how the Y’s hands-on approach to learning helps kids progress – not regress – over the summer. Click here for the video.
Summer Learning Changes Everything
More than ever, educational experts agree that summer learning and after school education programs are critically important in helping kids retain and improve the reading, science, technology and math skills learned during the normal school year.
And with the achievement gap widening between low- and middle-income kids, summer learning is even more important for those who are already struggling in school.
Making Every Moment Count
That’s why every YMCA Youth Development initiative, including our Summer Camp and After School Zone programs, are built on a solid, outcome-based curriculum focused on values, reading, wellness and alleviating family stress.
This summer alone, more than 22,875 kids who attended Y Summer Camp took part in 8 million minutes of reading time, 4.6 million minutes of values-based lessons and 10.9 million minutes of physical activity to combat childhood obesity. And because strong families raise strong, healthy kids, we also engaged more than 7,240 families in camp-time activities.
Our proudest achievement however was the YMCA/BELL Summer Reading Pilot, which helped 300 at-risk kids boost their math and reading scores by half a year in just six weeks!
While it was exciting to share success and exchange ideas during the conference, we’re most proud of Daniel Wu and the more than 5,390 kids we serve each day through the YMCA out-of-school time programs. And with the future so bright, we can’t wait to see the incredible things ahead.