Florida schools were among the first in the nation to reopen last August, yet students here were still shortchanged because of the pandemic. The Boys & Girls Club of Collier County wants to help students make up for lost learning time.
During the past year, students often were prohibited from working collaboratively in small groups, and many schools canceled or restricted field trips, hands-on lessons, theatrical performances, career days and extracurricular activities. Schools made a valiant attempt at virtual learning, but few can argue that sitting down all day in front of a computer is as effective as a traditional school environment.
As a result, many students have not learned a year’s worth of material during the past year. Education is like a race; once you fall behind, it’s hard to catch up.
For hundreds of Southwest Florida students, the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County is the answer. The club is offering students an opportunity to catch up through its Summer Camp, which operates for seven weeks and offers a safe, supportive environment that provides students with the tools to thrive academically, socially and personally. Camp programming includes academic enrichment, STEM instruction, physical fitness and creative arts activities, as well as nutritious breakfasts, lunches and snacks.
The Boys & Girls Club isn’t just a “well-run recreation center,” as some individuals have described it. The club truly is a learning center that serves as an extension of school. Tutors, staff and volunteers teach valuable lessons about business, entrepreneurship and life in addition to reading, math, science and social studies. Students have access to programs that cover career development, financial planning, college readiness and more.
It’s especially important to note that the Boys & Girls Club serves disadvantaged students who often face an uphill battle when it comes to education. Many lower-income families do not have the Internet or other academic resources at home, and often lack transportation to visit a library, museum or park.
In 2021, the Summer Camp will be a difference-maker for students whose education has been interrupted. To help provide this opportunity to additional students in Naples, Golden Gate and Immokalee, the Boys & Girls Club launched the “Sponsor a Camper, Change a Life” initiative. Supporters can make a single, tax-deductible donation of $500 to ensure a family will not have to pay the full cost of summer camp programming, which starts June 21.
I personally have agreed to sponsor 10 students and encourage others in Southwest Florida to do the same. It’s not just a donation; it’s an investment into these students’ futures, as well as the future of our community.
To contribute to the “Sponsor a Camper, Change a Life” initiative, please visit BGCCC.com or call 239-325-1700.
David Grogan is a Naples resident, retired business owner and member of the board of directors at the Boys & Girls Club of Collier County.