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New Generation Summer Camp Fun

Posted on Wednesday, August 14th, 2013.

While facilitating interviews for three different summer camps, I quickly noticed a new program trend. Gone are days of S’mores and nature walks; say “hello” to the new summer camp experience: zip-lining, robot building, and field trips galore!

This summer, StoryCorps Atlanta partnered with Camp Sunshine, Odyssey Atlanta, and Camp Catalyst, in order to record stories of memorable campers and staff doing extraordinarily fun things.

Odyssey Atlanta

Odyssey Atlanta has mastered the idea of making learning fun. The educational summer camp, hosted by The Westminster Schools, services students that attend Atlanta Public Schools. Campers prepare for college and work on improving SAT scores. But it hardly seems like school as they build candy-crushing robots, and solve staged crimes using forensic science.

Stanley Miller, a high school senior, started with Odyssey as an elementary student. At StoryCorps, he told his mother about being the 5th grade class “defense attorney,” when trying to solve who had stolen his teacher’s DNA from the lab.

“The role-playing was so fun! I had to dress up in a suit and everything,” says Miller. “The court case was really intense. At the end, we were able to get my teacher a not-guilty verdict.”

Stanley stands with his mom, Debbie.

Stanley stands with his mom, Debbie.

To learn more about Odyssey Atlanta, you can visit the website here.

Camp Sunshine for Girls Inc.

For the 25th anniversary celebration of Camp Sunshine, which services underprivileged girls in Montgomery, AL, many campers were able to go zip-lining for the first time.

The camp has no paid counselors, everyone volunteers. Tondalaire Ashford, has been volunteering since the very first year in 1989. She’s seen the camp grow from one day to five days.

At StoryCorps, Tondalaire told fellow volunteer, Carole Burton, about the highlight of the program, when the girls get to spend the night at Kamp Kiwanis.

Tondalaire (l) smiles with friend, Carole Burton (r).

Tondalaire (l) smiles with friend, Carole Burton (r).

“My favorite moments are when the music is playing on the paddle boats, and the girls are dancing while speeding over the water,” says Tondalaire. “I can’t wait to see their smiling faces as fly through the air. After zip-lining I don’t know what’s next!”

To learn more about Camp Sunshine, you can visit the website here.

Camp Catalyst

Camp Catalyst is all about field trips, and each week the kids see a new and exciting place. Much to our delight, the camp visited the Atlanta History Center earlier this month, and stopped by the StoryCorps booth to record their summer experiences.

“My favorite day at camp was going to Nancy’s pizza with the older counselors,” said Seth Goard, who has been a camper for the last few years.

Seth talked with fellow camper, Christian Wilburn, and camp assistant director, Morris Mapp, about what keeps him coming back each year. Besides the field trips and good pizza, he believes that the camp, which also focuses on educational games and activities, will help him to achieve his long-term goal of going to Morehouse College.

Camp Catalyst participants line up from shortest to tallest. Morris (far left), Seth (center), Christian (right)

Camp Catalyst participants line up from shortest to tallest. Morris (far left), Seth (center), Christian (right)

“I want to go to the same college that Martin Luther King went to!”

To learn more about Camp Catalyst, you can visit the website here.

Thanks to all the summer camps that recorded their stories with us!

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