Summer adventure camps makes classroom learning fun for students

SAN BENITO — Its not your every day summer camp.

Instead of camping in the woods, these students are back at school, learning about marine biology and safaris.

The San Benito After School Program’s summer camp is in full swing.

After School Program Coordinator Kathryn Contreras said the summer camp keeps students minds engaged during the break.

From 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. the camps serve as an extension of school.

Every two weeks, students will take math, science and reading classes that correspond with a particular theme such as aquatics or safari.

According to Contreras, because the camp doesn’t have to abide by any state mandated curriculum, the program is allowed to be creative with its lessons.

Smaller classrooms and hands-on activities that center on themes such as aquatics, safari and air have helped create greater interest in students for their school work.

Contreras said students who attended the summer camps tend to outperform students that did not participate once the regular school year begins.

“You definitely see a difference,” Contreras said.

During the summer, students enrolled in the program also get to continue with the clubs they were involved in during the year.

“Chess is of course, year-round,” Contreras said. “Right now they’re practicing for a tournament in Louisville.”

Jaime Rios, who is also a coordinator, said she and the other coordinators understand students don’t necessarily want to work during the summer so they try to create fun activities that are just as educational.

“Its an extension of what they learn during the school day,” Rios said. “We like to follow the curriculum they do throughout the year but we expand on it with hands-on learning.”

Field trips to the state aquarium in Corpus Christi and Sea Turtle Inc. in South Padre Island are among some of the activities the program has planned.

“We’re also planning field days for the times we can’t take field trips,” Rios said.

In the 19 years the after school program has held the camp, students have been signing up in larger numbers.

“We have a lot of students here, they look forward to coming here,”

Contreras said.

What happens during the summer camp?

• Participation in afterschool clubs such as chess and dance

• Math, reading and science lessons centered around certain themes

• Educational field trips

• Hands-on activities

• Field days