MARKHAM SUMMER CAMP “DARE 2 DREAM”

MARKHAM SUMMER CAMP “DARE 2 DREAM”
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Brandon Kaufer

At-risk youth are an ignored and largely invisible population…and it’s happening right in our own backyard. Spotlight:YOUTH is a groundbreaking initiative created to accelerate innovative collaboration and support in order to enhance the efforts of organizations serving the at-risk youth demographic. S:Y is bringing together the best and the brightest organizations and activists and encouraging collaboration rather than competition among those serving the at-risk youth community. For our initial project, “Dare 2 Dream”, we have partnered with an amazing group of individuals and organizations in order to address the long-standing issue of Summer Learning Loss in the inner cities of America. Markham Summer Camp seeks to equip Markham Middle School students with the tools to achieve, connect and thrive by providing them with access to a meaningful and engaging summer camp experience in a safe and nurturing environment. To succeed in school and life, children and young adults need ongoing opportunities to learn and practice essential skills. This is especially true during the summer months. Many Americans have a wonderful image of summer as a carefree, happy time when “kids can be kids,” and take for granted the prospect of enriching experiences such as summer camps, time with family, and trips to museums, parks, and libraries. Unfortunately, some youth face anything but idyllic summer months. When the school doors close, many children struggle to access educational opportunities, as well as basic needs such as healthy meals and adequate adult supervision. Through the delivery of high quality programs which include athletics, performing and fine arts, graphic design, film­making, music, field trips, conflict resolution, leadership development and personal enrichment activities; Markham Summer Camp is taking a holistic approach to fostering the positive self­ development of at-­risk youth. In order to enhance our efforts on the ground, the “Dare 2 Dream” campaign, a national multimedia marketing campaign, will bring the issue of Summer Learning Loss to the forefront of public perception and highlighting Markham Middle School as the first step towards a solution. The young people our organizational partners work with have dynamic and powerful stories of struggle and success. Through their narratives, we will shine a spotlight on young people who deserve a better hand than they were dealt.