Organized by University of Alaska Fairbanks Summer Sessions & Lifelong Learning, the project is self-supporting, receiving no General Funds. This year there are 49 camp sessions available on a wide variety of topics including some in the areas of health, disease prevention, education, and economic and community development. The children are also learning social skills and conflict prevention and resolution as they work in small groups, taking turns and meeting team goals. Subjects for study include: baking, rock climbing, archeology, bugs, gardening, golf, Jr. firefighting, pottery, gymnastics, money, hip hop dance, Jr engineering and Jr. broadcasting. To find out more about the program go to the web site: https://www.uaf.edu/summer/programs/camps/
There is a capacity of 869 slots and to date 584 have been filled. Camps are for one week, last 3 hours/day, and are divided into groups by upcoming grades in school: 2nd & 3rd; 4th & 5th; 6th, 7th and 8th. Sessions cost between $190-235 depending on the camp. Students who qualify for "free and reduced meals", may apply for a scholarship, and will get to attend a camp as long as there are funds to support their attendance. To apply, parents are asked to pay $25, and the child submits in writing why they want to attend this particular camp.
Summer Sessions Director, Michelle Bartlett says, "I never want to have to turn a child away because of their parent's financial situation." At the rate of applications currently received, by the time camps begin, 20 scholarships will have been awarded and reflect a cost of $3800.
Club members donated $915 and raised funds from others in the community, who are not in Rotary, for an additional $900. Some Rotarians from our club have personal relationships (serving as Big Brothers or Big Sisters for example) with some of the children who could be eligible for the scholarship. Rotarians in the community might also be serving as counselors/instructors for some of the sessions.
Children in previous years have commented that these sessions are very significant for them. Some say it is the best thing they have ever done. Others point out how they made new friends or gained skills in new areas. One child said it was the only fun they had all summer. These summer camps stimulate their interest in learning and give them experiences that make them more confident and engaged when returning to school in the fall.