Crazy as it sounds, going to school in the summer can be fun.
Jamestown Community College's Kids' College came to an end Friday after an exciting week. Offered every summer on JCC's Jamestown campus by the college's Center For Continuing Education, the program consists of 36 classes of students ages 8-12 eager to spend their summer months learning about everything from mollusks to ceramics. Kids attend a weeklong "camp" on the college campus and choose either to be a full-day camper for the week or to just come in for the morning or afternoon.
The classes available this year included some old favorites like Crime Scene Investigators (CSI), Grossology, Pennies for Pets, Delicious Art and Creative Clay Creations. New courses included Karate Team Challenge, Marvelous Mollusks, Rhythms and Rhymes, Minute to Win It and Keepers of the Western Door.
At left, students learn how to create fun goo in “Grossology.” Above, Maisy and Isabell work on their clay creations.
P-J photos by Nicholena Moon
JCC awards scholarships to enthusiastic students who may not otherwise be able to attend. This year the program received funding from the JCC Foundation and Cummins JEP and was able to award 16 scholarships.
The program is popular with kids, as it alleviates boredom in a healthy way over the summer months by utilizing hands-on learning in topics that interest students. The opportunity to become familiar with the collegiate atmosphere is also a plus for students, allowing them to become comfortable with the college campus and enthusiastic about learning at a young age, as program director Delana Rupp noted.
"We continue to see the benefits of offering programming to youth, as many of the children who attended Kids' College go on to become credit students at Jamestown Community College," she said. "Parents and children rave about the program and often lament when they 'graduate' from Kids' College and are too old to come back."
Jan Gould, who teaches Creative Clay Creations, praised the program for expanding students' horizons.
"I think its a great opportunity for kids," she said. "Its very nice that they can see what the college is like."
The program began in 1985 and since its inception has accommodated 6,175 children. However, Kids' College has changed significantly over the years.
"At that time, we offered 12 classes over four weeks," said Rupp. "Students could attend classes intermittently throughout the day and the program was less structured, meaning there was minimal supervision. Beginning in 2009, and continuing today, we went from offering Kids' College for two weeks to one week where children choose from 36 classes, but we expanded the program to accommodate as many children in one week as we did in two weeks."
Although Kids' College is over, JCC's other Continuing Education programs have yet to begin. Wee College, which was started to meet the needs of children too young to attend Kids' College, will run "Math Camp Mayhem" from Aug. 6-9 and "Science Olympiad" from Aug. 13-16. Since its inception in 2009, Wee College has served around 160 children. The demand for Wee College has caused the expansion of the program to include both morning and afternoon sessions of the two courses, and plans are under way to extend course offerings for the summer 2013 program. Classes are offered in half-day blocks and run from 8 a.m. to noon and 1 to 5 p.m., respectively. The program also offers limited scholarships for families in need.
The third program offered on the Jamestown campus is STEM Camp. The program's goal is to "promote and engage area youth in science, technology, engineering, and math initiatives and concepts during the summer," according to Rupp. Youths ages 10-14 are invited to participate in two of the camp's three classes, which run from August 13-16. The three classes available engage student's science interests in interactive ways. "The Art of Natural Science" involves learning about local plants, animals, and their habitats through the camera lens. In "How a 'Bot' It," kids spend the week learning how to build robots. "CSS: Crime Scene Solved," invites eager young analysts to learn about DNA, fingerprint, hair and blood analysis.
According to Rupp, the price of the camp was offset by several benefactors.
"The overall price of the camp was reduced due to funding from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation and Cummins JEP provided scholarships," she said. "Additionally, the 'Dream It. Do It.' campaign covered half the costs of Lego robotics software and kits for the 'How a 'Bot' It' class."
Rupp is proud to help engage the community's youth through JCC's programs.
"It's a lot of hard work and planning, but when I get to meet the kids and see how much fun they have, that's what makes it worthwhile," she said.