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Jul 29, 2016

Growing the Future Summer Camp Concludes

And in Belize City, another summer camp held its certificate ceremonies for the more than four hundred and fifty participants. The camp is the brainchild of Growing the Future Projects and this is its thirteenth year of operation. As we found out this morning, the word camp may be somewhat of a misnomer since it’s more geared to academics than strictly play-time. It’s designed to work as a transition between levels to alleviate brain-rust over the long holidays. News Five’s Mike Rudon, who knows all about brain rust was at the ceremony this morning and has the story.

 

Mike Rudon, Reporting

Four hundred and fifty children – from all across the country and every level from Infant one to Standard six participated in the Growing the Future Summer Camp 2016, the brainchild of Peter Lacey thirteen years ago.

 

Peter Lacey

Peter Lacey, Director, Growing the Future Projects

“We started back in 2004 as a pre-P.S.E. program and we’ve grown over the years from serving kids from Infant one all the way to Standard six. In 2012 we began expanding throughout the country. We started first in Sugar City in Orange Walk at St. Peter’s Anglican, and the following year we went to San Pedro and then since then we’ve had successful programs in Corozal, Belmopan, San Ignacio, Belize City…we’ve done programs in Independence as well. This year, however, we’ve run programs in Orange Walk, Belize City, San Ignacio, Dangriga and also in Independence as well, totaling about four hundred and fifty kids countrywide.”

 

It has to have been a logistical nightmare but organizers made it happen. This is how it works. For three or four weeks, depending on the level, kids report to class for two or three hours a day and participate in a structured program taught by trained educators.

 

Peter Lacey

“Our primary focus is to focus on Language Arts, Phonics, Creative Writing, Reading Comprehension, penmanship – it all depends on the level of the child. For the Standard three going into Standard four we focus on the BJAT examination and for the five and six we focus on the English and math papers for the P.S.E.  Parents have asked us to be more well-rounded in terms of the summer program so we added in Expressive Arts and paid more focus to sports as well. We’ve been doing day trips within the program since 2006, but you know finances are tight so some years we can do it and some years we can’t. Our teachers made an effort and we took trip to the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary, we went to Placencia and ouor teachers in Orange Walk took kids all the way to Bacalar. Our teachers are the backbone of this program and it is their effort that has made the program a success for the past thirteen years.”

 

While the teachers are the backbone, the financial support which makes the program possible comes from corporate sponsors who continue to provide support, even sponsoring children who want to attend but can’t afford the registration.

 

Peter Lacey

“We have two ways – we send out flyers to the schools. The children take home the flyers and interested parents would come. We have a fee, a registration fee that they would pay and a worksheet fee to cover certain costs throughout the program as well. What we introduced this year as well is a scholarship program where we reached out to some of our corporate sponsors so that they can sponsor kids who cannot afford to come into the program. We have sponsors across the country who have sponsored into the program. We have about one hundred and twenty-five students who have been sponsored out of the four hundred and fifty students this year.”

 

Andrea Banner Lacey

Andrea Banner Lacey, Program Coordinator, Growing the Future Projects

“As a private entity our mission is to promote the value of learning, and provide a safe and stimulating environment for children to interact with and learn from each other. With the assistance of parents, the business and corporate community Growing the Future Projects has strived to make a positive difference in every child’s life, and we will push them in improving in body, mind soul and spirit with truth and love in order for them to reach their full potential in their everyday lives. The future goal of this organization is to cater to 1000 children countrywide during the summer breaks.”

 

From what we saw today, that goal seems eminently reachable. Mike Rudon for News Five.

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