Online Summer Camp Kicks into Gear

Hyde Park Refugee Project kicked off its third annual summer camp last week! Forty-four kids, ages four to 12, from 20 refugee families signed up for the camp that transitioned from in-person to online this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Thanks to the generous donations of Refugee Project supporters and a $5,000 grant from the Religious Action Center of Reform Judaism, the program and accompanying materials and supplies are entirely free to campers.

About a dozen teens have volunteered to serve as online camp counselors this year, many of them returning volunteers from tutoring, or last year’s camp. Counselors are involved in researching and making videos and putting together other hands on materials for the kids. 

Volunteer Olivia Issa, for example, will be teaching remote dance class!

Kids’ packets are personalized and brim with grade-appropriate materials for science, math, reading, and art. In addition, the Chicago Public Library (Hall Branch) has generously provided books for the children to keep and other sources have provided games for children to choose from and check out.

“Each week children receive packets and materials for various activities,” says Refugee Project co-director Lisa Jenschke.  “Last week included sidewalk chalk, a book club book, Uno games, and spider plants.”

This week, campers will receive chess sets for chess lessons and a science kit with copper tape, led lights, and batteries for the older children to make circuits.

“Our volunteers are doing great work,” says camp director Linda Pope. “It is very fun to see how things are coming together.”

by Lisa La Vallee

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