The normally empty summer hallways at Cambridge City Schools are now filled with students learning, trying new things, and connecting with district staff in a new way.
CATS Camp provides the district's students with a safe place to spend their days. More than 400 students have participated in the program, which takes place at the primary, intermediate, middle and high schools. In the kindergarten through fifth grade age range, the camp is averaging nearly 80 students per day.
Days are divided between using Edmentum, an educational program designed to be utilized at each child's individualized academic level, and a variety of activities. Between field trips to the John and Annie Glenn Museum, The Wilds, hiking at Salt Fork, and checking out the National Trail and Zane Grey museum, there is no shortage of educational opportunities.
Angie Hayhurst, intervention specialist at Cambridge Intermediate said, "CATS Camp is a way to interact with these kids in a different way than you do during the school year. You get to build more of a relationship with them. We're still doing some of the learning that we typically would throughout the year, but we're able to do it in a different way, without so much pressure and structure."
This approach to fighting off the summer slide regression students sometimes see with the absence of daily schooling has shown to be effective for Cambridge students. Students are able to make connections and build more of a relationship with their teachers and specialists. These one-on-one moments help the students see more success during the school year.
Students attending the middle school camp get to delve into specific interests via clubs. Whether it's photography, cooking, or even bike riding, giving the students a choice has proven popular. The district recently used grant money to purchase six bikes for the camp, allowing two students to try riding a bike for the first time ever.
Across the campus at the high school, a free driver's education program has seen more than 75 participants. The high school campers also learn about credit resolution and other important life skills.
The school does have transportation available for those students who have registered early. Those who can't be bussed can still be dropped off at their school. Running from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. daily, campers are provided both breakfast and lunch. Family-themed events are also on tap for the campers, including a pool party and a family night.
A summer celebration is scheduled for July 14 at the high school track. First responder vehicles will be on hand for a Touch-A-Truck type evening. A mini-golf course, donated by Micheal Port, will also be set up for students, and various camp supporters will be on campus as well.
Muskingum Valley Health Centers, the Guernsey County Library system and Deerassic Park will all be represented at the event. In addition to local sponsors, three different grants fund the program, with the Summer Learning and Afterschool Opportunities grant funding three years' worth of camp.
The next session runs from July 5 to 28. For more information call Robin Lahmers at 330-619-8481 or 740-868-0257.
This article originally appeared on The Daily Jeffersonian: CATS Camp: Learning disguised as fun at Cambridge schools