Summer 2020 and Fall 2020 Program Update

SUMMER 2020 PROGRAM UPDATE

For over 30 years, summer camp has provided Wayfinders scholars with an opportunity for learning and self-discovery. This past summer, all but one of our residential camp partners closed for in-person camp because of the coronavirus pandemic. (Camp Hanes still operated with safety precautions, and 8 of our scholars attended overnight camp.) While we were all disappointed that summer camp did not continue as we had hoped, we at Wayfinders worked hard to reimagine summer opportunity and programming for our scholars this year.

To provide summer enrichment for our scholars, we identified 23 local and virtual camps that scholars enrolled in based on their interests including Duke Summer Session, Wake Forest Summer Immersion, UNCG’s All-Arts, Sciences & Technology Camp, McColl Center for Arts + Innovation, Discovery Place Science, Athena’s Path Camp, Hero’s Pursuit Camp, Dottie Rose Foundation Camps, and more. Given the new format, scholars could participate in multiple camps this summer, giving them multiple chances to stay engaged and fight summer learning loss. Some of our older scholars gained skills through internships and employment.

To complement camps, we hosted virtual and in-person activities and provided monthly, themed care packages. In May, scholars participated in therapist-led virtual workshops on Coping Skills and Resiliency and received a self-care package that included a journal, mindfulness coloring book, stress ball, and jump rope. June’s theme, “Get Outside and Move”, included a socially-distanced fitness hike and healthy lifestyle care package which included a fitness tracker. In July, we focused on “Building Bridges Across Difference” by providing an interfaith activity box with information and crafts about world religions, and we gave each scholar an age-appropriate book about racial justice.  In August, we held a drive-through Back to School resource fair and gave away school supplies and masks and held vision screenings. All summer care packages included books thanks to First Book and Promising Pages.

Mentors stayed in touch with families and connected them to critical resources. Mentors also found new ways to engage their scholars and keep spirits up through creative pursuits like a virtual talent show and learning new skills like calligraphy, cooking, embroidery, guitar, magic, and origami.

Wayfinders offered virtual learning support as well, providing laptops and hot spots where needed.

 

FALL 2020 PROGRAM UPDATE

SEPTEMBER – Wayfinders partnered with Ascend Goals to provide goal-setting software. Scholars can invite parents, family members, teachers, coaches, and their Wayfinders mentors to help them achieve their goals. They can communicate in real-time about goal progress and completion. We kicked off this program with therapist-led goal-setting workshops, learning how to make S.M.A.R.T. goals.

OCTOBER — Wayfinders scholars and mentors got outside this month. Wayfinders held a nature hike at Latta Nature Preserve, and scholars spent a day participating in ropes courses, climbing walls, and ziplines at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, a new 2020 partner. We provided care packages with supplies for scholars to create their own vision boards, putting into practice what they learned about setting goals.

NOVEMBER — This is our annual Wayfinders Gives Back month of community service. Mentors and scholars participated together in a community service project of their choosing. Some sorted clothing at Crisis Assistance, some organized donations at Loaves and Fishes, and others baked treats for families at The Learning Collaborative Preschool.  

DECEMBER – Some scholars will receive bikes, thanks to a partnership with The Spokes Group, and all scholars will receive grade-level appropriate books to read over winter break along with hand-written notes of encouragement. Each of our families will also receive a cookie-decorating kit to enjoy thanks to our Nutcracker Ball buy one/give one initiative.

For further information about our programs, contact Mollie James at mjames@wayfindersnc.org.

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