CAMBA Campers Shine Through the Summer

“Our Summer Camp Motto is simple: We believe in exploration through exposure to fun learning activities.”

-Wesner Pierre, Vice President, Education and Youth Development

While summer tends to be a child’s favorite time of the year, it can also be the cause for students to fall behind in school. Children need to maintain academic and other mental stimulation throughout the summer in order to stay on par with their peers when they reenter school in the fall. CAMBA works to reduce the “summer slide” that students experience every June through August if they lack structured and educational activities.

Young people are exposed to new and exciting fields and ideas through their time in CAMBA’s summer camps. “I think summer camps are integral to a child’s development, particularly if you live in the inner city,” said Wesner Pierre, Vice President for CAMBA’s Education and Youth Development programs. Children from low-income communities, who might not be afforded access to summer excursions, are less likely to suffer the summer slide through some of the camps CAMBA runs at Beacon Centers within public schools.

Beacons are community centers that serve children and adults and offer a range of services and activities to enhance community engagement and healthy living. Beacons operate after school, during the evening, on weekends, and during the summer so that working parents can use the centers for childcare while they are at work and other adults can take classes, without them interfering with job hours.

According to Robyn Stovall, Program Director at Beacon 271 at the John M. Coleman Campus in Ocean Hill, summer camps are critical for their students. This summer, the 120 students attending summer camp at Beacon 271 range in ages 5 to 14 and are able to explore their creative and academic interests through classes in music, math, video production, writing, fashion, dance and radio. Of the innovative program she manages, Robyn said this:

“I think that our summer camp provides a necessary outlet for all the kids as they transition and mature throughout the summer. All the different activities we have here at Beacon 271 allow them to unleash talents and explore interests that they didn’t even know existed. It’s not always easy to get them to try new things, but our Fearless Leader motto is “Don’t be afraid to fail; be afraid not to try”; when that saying is fully embraced, I see that the sky’s the limit for these young people.

This year, Beacon 271 held a talent show for the first time — it was amazing to see the courage, creativity and raw talent that these performances showcased. When our young people return to school or now enter high school for the first time, they take all of these courageous and silly moments from summer camp with them. These moments can aid them in conversations, be an important memory, or perhaps the foundation for a new hobby or subject they wish to pursue.”

CAMBA’s summer camps provide young people with the opportunity to grow in more ways than academic; these camps also provide important socialization for the students. The camps also balance lesson plans with fun activities in the daily schedules.

Thanks to summer camps like Beacon 271, participants are able to enjoy being themselves, all while staying on track for school success when they return to school after Labor Day.


CAMBA connects New Yorkers to opportunities through its dedicated staff, who are trained to provide solutions to the biggest challenges of life in New York.