Summer experiences

Offering a wide-variety of activities and topics, Summer Branches camps keeps students active both physically and mentally during the long summer break.

Held at West Branch School, 755 Moore Ave., two different camps are offered each week for students. Camps are offered based on age group and the program runs for five weeks.

“We try and vary camps each week so we offer well-rounded activities,” said Natali Prindle, operations manager.

This year’s crop of camps allow participants to learn about topics such as science, art and gymnastics, among others. Prindle added that each year the school must research what children are interested in as to stay up to date.

“It’s interesting what kids are interested in. And it changes every year so we have to change (the camp) each year,” she said.

Although some camps seem to be more about fun than learning, Prindle said that they all are designed to help keep the children’s minds active during the summer months when they are not going to school.

“It’s important to keep kids active,” she said.

One of the camps, Magic Tricks with Science led by Dr. Joseph LeBlanc, gave students the opportunity to perform tricks but then explain them using science. Students were able to balance soda can on their side by putting the proper amount of water in them. They also were able to make their arms rise by themselves by pushing it against a shelf.

Artistic Freedom with Rita Bower gave the younger group of children a chance to experiment with colors and art forms. Bower said students learned to blend colors while painting and make scratch art.

And by giving participants new experiences, it allows them to grow.

“It’s important to expose students to different activities because they may not be exposed to them otherwise,” Prindle said.

Prindle said campers have a positive experience and often come back the following years.

Students of the school, as well as those who do not attend it are welcome to the camp. She added this extra benefit of meeting new children helps all campers as they are able to make new friends.

And by keeping their minds active, it allows students to avoid the “summer slide” and prepare for the next school year.

“When they’re exposed to educational camps they connect what they’re learning to thing they learned in school,” Prindle said.