Savannah summer camp gets WiSE!Uncategorized

Posted On:  August 05th   Author: kristin

Summer camp encourages education

August 3, 2014 Savannah Morning News, by Karson Bradnenburg

One Thursday in June, children at Camp Villa Marie on Isle of Hope learned how to communicate without using their words. They were taught to draw pictures to demonstrate ideas instead of talking. They also went on a scavenger hunt through the sprawling acreage belonging to the camp, and they learned to use binoculars.

This was all brought on by a new partnership between Camp Villa Marie and Wilderness Southeast, a Savannah company that provides eco-adventures around the local area.

Camp Villa Marie is run by the Catholic Diocese, and prior to the partnership with Wilderness Southeast, was much like a day care camp for children between the ages of 6 and 12.

Earlier this spring, the two organizations began planning the programming for the summer, and on June 12, Wilderness Southeast taught its first science class at Camp Villa Marie.

But don’t worry about the camp-goers getting tired of learning. Wilderness Southeast’s hands-on approach to biology keeps the children involved.

This summer, the classes fished with nets from the camp’s dock and competed in a “Water Olympics,” where they studied the properties of water. They also got to use hand-held microscopes to examine shrimp and other marine life in the creek running along the edge of the property.

“The kids are absolutely loving it,” said Kristin Peney, executive director for Wilderness Southeast. “That means they’re still having fun, and they aren’t bored with what we’re doing. And that’s the point—to keep the kids learning all summer long, but make them not feel like they’re bored in a classroom.”

In fact, to get away from the classroom feel, many of the sessions take place in an outdoor classroom or on the dock.

Wilderness Southeast instructors visit Thursday mornings at Camp Villa Marie. The children are separated by age group to encourage deeper levels of discussion for the older ones, but everyone gets to participate in the same fun activity.

“Having Wilderness Southeast offers a new thing for the kids to do year after year, week after week,” said Maggie Grimm, the camp center’s coordinator. “It really has enriched the program that we already offer.”

While the center currently does not have programs during the school year, they are hoping to develop that in the future.

“Right now, when testing is becoming more important in school, it’s really important to keep the kids engaged over the summer break,” said Peney. “With this, everybody walks away learning something.”

“We really have a great time every summer,” said Grimm.

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