This story originally appeared in the fall 2013 Harker Quarterly.
It was “the summer of wow!” over at the lower school’s Summer Camp+ program, just as the colorful sign which hung near the entrance to the Bucknall campus proclaimed.
The wow factor was evident at Camp+, where children could be seen joyfully climbing up a rock structure, hula hooping and cooling off in the pool or with a water mat and hose out on the field.
Indeed, campers were able to choose from a wide array of appropriate age-related activities, creating the perfect environment for youngsters in K-6 to let loose and have some fun outdoors following earlier morning indoor academics.
Students had the choice of enrolling in either CoreFocus or LOL (Learning Opportunities in Literature) for the academic portion of the day. CoreFocus was a three- or four-week math- and language arts-focused program. LOL was a two-week integrated curriculum centered around a literary theme. Both programs left room for the optional added afternoon activity program.
Each year, a spirited four-way game of “color clash” kicks off the beginning of the fun Camp+ activities. The traditional gathering, held in the Bucknall gymnasium, groups students on yellow, red, green and blue teams in an array of silly games cheered on by captains (aka camp counselors) wearing color-coordinated outfits that run the gamut from superheroes to hula skirts and silly hats. Kindergartners stay for the beginning of color clash before heading outside to the lawn where they have their own special activities, including art projects.
Enthusiasm ran high at this year’s event, held in June. In a nice gesture of team spirit, campers got bonus points for loudly cheering for not only their own group but for everyone
else as well. (Check out all the action in this video taken at the program: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r_LDnLG7U7c)
“Go, team yellow!” shouted camper and second grader Enzo Lucketti, also a regular student at the lower school. His favorite things about camp were climbing on the rock structure outside and getting his study skills up in the academic portion of his day.
According to Joe Chung, program director of Camp+ and an elementary computer science teacher, there was something for everyone in the program. On-site highlights included a patriotic games bash, water carnival, sleepover for older campers, presentation for parents and birthday celebration for camp mascot “Ray.” Campers also partook in numerous off-site field trips, including local outings for bowling and miniature golf and more distant trips to the Oakland Zoo and Coyote Point.
Afternoon activities were grouped by ages and weeks, with kindergartners attending kindercamp. First and second graders were in the owls group, third and fourth graders were called condors, and fifth and sixth graders were referred to as eagles. This year, the first session of camp included such themes as wow, whamo, wipe out and work out. The second session featured weeks called wisdom of wizards, waiting on winter and wonders of wildlife.
“This was my third time at Camp+, and I really recommend it!” enthused grade 3 student Alexis Nishimura. To her, the best part about camp was “hanging out with friends,” followed by “all the fun activities and outings.”