This summer at Tyler’s Camp at Sussex Academy, kids owned their learning. They danced and sang; engineered music, rehearsed, innovated, refined and performed. Kids didn’t just explore subjects like filmmaking, dance, and field hockey; they became filmmakers, dancers, and athletes. This is the power of summer. And at Tyler’s Camp, kids choose what they want to pursue and how they pursue it. Tyler’s Camp empowers campers to transcend obstacles and develop new motivation as they prepare to take on their next school year. Through an innovative partnership, Sussex Academy partnered with SummerCollab and The Boys & Girls Clubs, to bring Tyler’s Camp to it’s remarkable facilities. Hosting over 70 campers, students enjoyed Sussex Academy’s brand new fields, gym spaces and classrooms. Here campers were able to immerse themselves, engaging in the kind of learning that lasts. Some campers participated in dance recitals and theater performances, while others competed in basketball and soccer tournaments. Campers who took the video production course even created a Movie Trailer for the program using iMovie. “I find Tyler’s Camp to be so beneficial because of the level of exposure kids receive,” said one camp leader. “Tyler’s Camp successfully exposes students to a new world in sports, arts, and music.” The program was designed to let kids dive headfirst into their roles as artists, engineers, and more. As a result, campers finish the summer having strengthened their sense of purpose and intrinsic motivation. Tyler’s Camp was founded in 2016 by SummerCollab, an education nonprofit based in Wilmington, after receiving a generous gift from the Salesianum School community. That gift, which led to Tyler’s Camp’s founding, was donated to honor a fallen classmate, Tyler Brown, who during his senior year at Salesianum, suffered a fatal car crash. Mr. Brown was known by his peers to be a Renaissance man–an artist, an aspiring architect, and athlete. With Mr. Brown’s expansive interests in mind, SummerCollab sought to design a camp that provided avenues for a range of study as broad as Tyler’s passions. Like many projects of this scale, Tyler’s Camp is a joint venture. It relies on a network of partnering agencies to bring such a wide variety of programming to campers. Teachers and instructors are hired from local schools. And participating organizations include the Dagsboro Boys and Girls Club, the Georgetown Boys and Girls Club, and La Esperanza, all of whom fall under the SummerCollab umbrella. This year, Tyler’s Camp was piloted at Sussex Academy as a two week finale to a seven-week middle school leadership program funded entirely by the Arsht Cannon Fund. Of the 75 campers who attended Tyler’s Camp at Sussex Academy in 2017, 98% live in households that qualify as low-income. Sussex Academy provided the grounds for vital and extraordinary learning to take place – a critical pilot year for Tyler’s Camp to take root here in Sussex County. Next year, while still free for campers of high-need, SummerCollab aims to open up its programming to all kids in Sussex County for a fee. Programming will include a focus on writing, targeting incoming 6th graders’ preparedness for Sussex Academy’s high academic standards in the fall. Sussex Academy partnered with SummerCollab to offer an unprecedented experience for middle school students. SummerCollab aims to ensure all kids have access to extraordinary learning opportunities, and reverse summer learning loss among children, in particular those of low income who typically lose as many as 3 months of learning during the summer months. Through the donation of its campus and support staff to SummerCollab’s Tyler’s Camp, Sussex Academy took powerful steps toward making summer a time for meaningful growth for both it’s own students and the broader community. For more information on how to get involved, please visit SummerCollab.org.
October 16, 2017