The last day of school is something virtually every student looks forward to. Whether it is the allure of summer freedom or the anticipation of long weekends at the lake, the countdown to vacation begins shortly after the New Year. For some young people, however, summer is a chance to explore new things and experience a different kind of school. For seventeen years, Minnesota State University Moorhead (MSUM) has given students that opportunity as part of their College for Kids and Teens (CFK) program.
According to Community Outreach Director Shireen Alemadi, almost 1,200 young people participated in CFK in 2015. She is hoping to surpass that number in 2016. “Parents are looking for ways to keep their kids engaged over the summer and the summer camps that MSUM Community Outreach offer allow students to learn new things and also be engaged during the summer,” she said.
Alemadi is responsible for many of the changes that have taken place in recent years, including expanding class offerings, lowering the age requirement, and moving to a June/July schedule. She is also very excited to announce three new summer camp options that are specifically for high school students, one of which is a residential program. “For a couple of years parents have asked for more options for their kids especially as they were getting older,” Alemadi explained. “These new camps will allow students to explore some college majors and career paths more in depth while having fun and learning new things.”
The new programs include:
· Multimedia Journalism Camp – "Journalism from the Inside Out"
June 27-30 for students entering grades 9-12
For the Multimedia Journalism Camp, MSUM Community Outreach is working with the Marcil Center for Innovative Journalism and Forum Communications.
· Coding Camp
July 25-28 for ages 13-18
The Coding Camp will work with the Graphic Communications Department at MSUM along with local businesses like Myriad Mobile and PODS Game Design.
· SCRUBS Camp – Residential High School (students will stay at MSUM for a week)
July 31-August 5 for students entering grades 9-12.
For the SCRUBS camp, the program is working with Essentia, MState, MSUM departments, and programs and other FM companies and businesses.
College for Kids and Teens is an experience that has the power to transform young people. Six-year-old Jocelyn Larson attended the Finding Floral & Fauna class last summer. Her parents weren’t sure if their shy and timid daughter would be willing to attend the class by herself, but they gave it a shot. In just one short week, Jocelyn’s confidence soared. She has thrived this year in Kindergarten, something that can in part be due to her experience at MSUM.
Jocelyn describes her camp as an “adventure.” Although she was very nervous the first day, she would like to encourage other shy kids to attend. “Don’t worry, it’s very fun,” she said. “You don’t have to be scared.” Jocelyn’s favorite part of camp was looking at nature and recording her thoughts in a journal. Her favorite discovery? A “big fat frog in a muddy pond.” Jocelyn is planning to attend more camps this summer, something she is very excited about.
Parents are also huge supporters of the camp. Some families have been attending College for Kids and Teens for several years. Anne Kaese has been sending her now 12-year-old son and 14-year-old daughter to MSUM for several years. “Rebecca has been taking art classes since about fourth grade and Arthur’s interests have run the gamut from art to science to technology since fourth grade,” she explained. “Last summer he was immersed in technology.”
For Kaese, the benefits of the program are immense. “College for Kids & Teens gives kids a focused pocket of experience, an emersion in a small amount of time during the summer to help expose them to new interests and possible careers,” she said. “It's been very challenging for both kids and they are excited to see the teen camps starting, so it doesn't have to end. I see Shireen as a passionate advocate for kids and education in the community."
The instructors at CFK participate in the program because they can see the value for young people. Dave Binkard has been an instructor for several year. For him, the program is about helping students discover who they are. “These kids are at the age where they're beginning to form their core interests, whether it be in science, technology, engineering, creativity, or anything else,” he explained. “College for Kids and Teens gives them the opportunity to engage with those interests and see where it takes them.”
Alemadi would like to make sure everyone in the area is aware of this great program. Specifically, she wants to emphasize:
· CFK has a great student to teacher ratio (10:1 or better)
· t is not just for Moorhead residents, any students are welcome to attend. We have some students that come from out of state and stay with family during the week of their course
· Once students attend for the first time, they often come back year after year because they have such a great time
· Students can take a morning and afternoon course in the same week and we supervise them during lunch (they just need to bring a bag lunch with them)
· College for Kids & Teens believes in the transformative power of education
College for Kids & Teens has four separate sessions: Session 1: June 13-16, Session 2: June 20-23, Session 3: July 11-14, Session 4: July 18-21. Additional Information about the program or the three new camps, including individual class offerings and scholarship information, can be obtained at www.mnstate.edu/collegeforkids. Registration is now open. CFK is also on Twitter (@CFKMSUM) and on Facebook (www.facebook.com/msumcollegeforkids).