Julie Capaldi, June 15, 2015

What a way to start the week. Traci Boyles, Director of Early Childhood and Elementary Education sent this update about Camp iRock. I know you will love it.

Our first week of reading camp was great!  I wanted to touch base and let you know some of the fantastic things I am seeing and hearing from the students that are benefitting from these experiences.  See below for highlights! Some of these moments are instructional while others are those intangible inspirations that give me goose bumps.  I also want to thank each of you for the various roles you have played in getting our camps off the ground.  Students are benefitting and we appreciate all of the support we have been given!

Camp iRock- West End Elementary

  • Students have been asked what their favorite part of camp is so far and several are already saying “reading”.  That is so exciting to hear from students who have struggled to read and have confidence in themselves!
  • One student had shoes that were coming apart and a Call Me Mister Intern (Mr. Aaron) knew they had just been working with some shoe needs.  He called his supervisor and it just so happened that he had a pair of brand new shoes that were just the right size.  One happy camper with new shoes!
  • YMCA Counselors are singing, dancing, and gaming their hearts out in the afternoons for an outside break and then incorporating character education (responsibility is this week’s focus) when they come inside!

(This is the United Way, School District and YMCA pilot program that combines literacy education and summer camp for rising 1st through 4th graders. It is all day, 5 days a week for 10 full weeks.  Our plans are to make Camp iRock accessible for the entire Pickens County.)

Camp Adventure- Pickens & Liberty

  • One parent sent an email saying that her child had initially cried with disappointment that he would be attending reading camp this summer.  By the end of day 2 his mom reported that he came home with such a positive attitude about the camp that she couldn’t wait to see the outcome by the end of camp.
  • One class read Donovan’s Word Jar, a story of a boy who finds words fascinating.  In the story he writes words on slips and keeps them in his jar.  The class has created their own word jar to capture the words they love all summer!  One student even told his teacher that he went home and made his own word jar to use!

(These two camps are the state mandated summer learning loss camps for 3rd grade only.  They run for 6 weeks. Our plans are to expand Camp Adventure into Camp iRock in the next few years. How cool is that?)


We forgot to budget for books for the campers to take home with them. Can you help? We’ve set up a wish listat Amazon.com. All you have to do is buy a book (or more) and they’ll automatically come right to United Way. I bought two books and it was easy as pie.