The Dream Catchers Summer Literacy Camp at Hardin-Simmons motivates and inspires students academically and personally each year. From June 19-30, children from Ortiz Elementary School and Mann Middle School will participate in activities and lessons that promote academic, social, emotional, and physical growth at the summer camp. The opportunities at Dream Catchers Camp are only available because of the support and funding of various individuals, businesses, alumni, and donors.
At the summer camp, students can work on group projects, complete multiple hands-on learning experiments, and make real world connections within art, music, and theater. They will also gain a deeper understanding of the world that they live in, by examining various living organisms and the founding elements of the government. According to Dr. Renee Collins, Department Head of Educational Studies, another advantage that Dream Catchers brings to the Abilene students is the promotion of deeper relationships.
"A big benefit that these children gain from the summer camp includes the friendships that they develop with various mentors who participate at the camp," Collins said.
Students are able to connect with fellow students, teachers, education majors from the University, community members, and government representatives. This year a panel of representatives will visit the children on the first and last day of the camp to enlighten them on their roles in the government and provide feedback and advice to them. Those attending this year include: Col. David Benson, Wing Commander, 7th Bomb Wing Dyess FAB; Stan Lambert, State Representative; Blake Woodall, West Central Texas Water District Manager; city councilman Anthony Williams, and Captain Maskill, pilot of C-130 at Dyess AFB.
Collins plans to continue these opportunities for the students and eventually expand the camp to more schools.
In order for these goals to be accomplished, additional funding is required. Donations give the camp learning materials, t-shirts, journals, and a safe learning environment for the children. A gift of at least $13.50 pays for a child to attend one day of camp.
"We are especially thankful for each one of the donors and their demonstration of support. However, in order to achieve the long-term goals we have for this camp, new sources of funding is a greatly needed," Collins said.