Sussex Academy hosts Tyler's Camp

October 1, 2017

This summer at Tyler's Camp at Sussex Academy, kids owned their learning. They danced and sang, engineered music, rehearsed, innovated, refined and performed. Kids didn't just explore subjects like filmmaking, dance and field hockey; they became filmmakers, dancers and athletes.

At Tyler's Camp, kids choose what they want to pursue and how they pursue it. Tyler's Camp empowers campers to transcend obstacles and develop new motivation as they prepare to take on their next school year.

Sussex Academy partnered with SummerCollab and The Boys & Girls Clubs to bring Tyler's Camp to its remarkable facilities, hosting more than 70 campers. Students enjoyed Sussex Academy's brand-new fields, gym spaces and classrooms. Campers were able to immerse themselves, engaging in the kind of learning that lasts.

Some campers participated in dance recitals and theater performances, while others competed in basketball and soccer tournaments. Campers who took the video production course created a movie trailer for the program using iMovie.

"I find Tyler's Camp to be so beneficial because of the level of exposure kids receive," said one camp leader. "Tyler's Camp successfully exposes students to a new world in sports, arts and music." The program was designed to let kids dive headfirst into their roles as artists, engineers and more. As a result, campers finish the summer having strengthened their sense of purpose and intrinsic motivation.

Tyler's Camp was founded in 2016 by SummerCollab, an education nonprofit based in Wilmington, after receiving a generous gift from the Salesianum School community. That gift was donated to honor a fallen classmate, Tyler Brown, who suffered a fatal car crash during his senior year at Salesianum. Brown was known by his peers to be a Renaissance man - an artist, aspiring architect and athlete. With Brown's expansive interests in mind, SummerCollab sought to design a camp that provided avenues for a range of study as broad as Tyler's passions.

Like many projects of this scale, Tyler's Camp is a joint venture. It relies on a network of partnering agencies to bring such a wide variety of programming to campers. Teachers and instructors are hired from local schools. Participating organizations include the Dagsboro Boys & Girls Club, the Georgetown Boys & Girls Club, and La Esperanza, all of which fall under the SummerCollab umbrella.

This year, Tyler's Camp was piloted at Sussex Academy as a two-week finale to a seven-week middle school leadership program funded by the Arsht-Cannon Fund. Of the 75 campers who attended Tyler's Camp at Sussex Academy in 2017, 98 percent live in households that qualify as low-income. Sussex Academy provided the grounds for vital and extraordinary learning to take place - a critical pilot year for Tyler's Camp to take root in Sussex County.

Next year, while still free for high-need campers, SummerCollab aims to open up its programming to all kids in Sussex County for a fee. Programming will include a focus on writing, targeting incoming sixth-graders' preparedness for Sussex Academy's high academic standards.

Sussex Academy partnered with SummerCollab to offer an unprecedented experience for middle school students. SummerCollab aims to ensure all kids have access to extraordinary learning opportunities, and reverse summer learning loss among children, in particular those of low income who typically lose as many as three months of learning during the summer. Through the donation of its campus and support staff to SummerCollab's Tyler's Camp, Sussex Academy took powerful steps toward making summer a time for meaningful growth for both its own students and the broader community.

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