Estes camp a fun, learning experience for students

Photo by Greg Eans, Messenger-Inquirer.com | geans@messenger-inquirer.com Alicia Francisco, 10, right, works to construct a cube that she will use to play a math-based game as fellow summer camp classmate Chastelyn Mata looks on Tuesday during 21st Century Summer Camp at Estes Elementary School.

Arabella Turley likes coming to the Estes Elementary School 21st Century camp, which this year has the theme of Bulldogs Got Talent, because there are a lot of activities.

"It's fun because it gives us something to do over summer," the 9-year-old said Tuesday.

Arabella is one of 65 students participating in the camp that is free for students and funded through a grant from the Kentucky Department of Education.

According to Chris Hale, 21st Century coordinator for Estes, the camp is for Estes students who fall within a certain MAP score range. The MAP tests measure student performance in reading and math, and Hale said students who are within the 30th to 60th percentile come to the camp to receive further enrichment when school isn't in session.

Students also go on field trips throughout the duration of camp, including a trip to Lincoln State Park, a children's museum and a trip to Rosine to visit the Bill Monroe Museum.

Hale works hard to make the camp fun for students so it doesn't feel like school to them.

"They are having fun, and it's something different than they are used to with regular school," he said. "It's important to provide opportunities like this for them that they may not get otherwise, and to just give them some extra learning during the summer so there's not that lapse."

Students also are kept active with physical education, and they rotate between reading and math courses, as well as art, music and theater.

Daniel Reyes attended the camp last summer, and the 8-year-old said he enjoyed the camp because there are a lot of educational games that don't feel like learning. He was excited to return this year because it is a "fun time we can spend with our friends."

"I like PE and music. Music is fun because (the teacher) brings in different instruments for us to try, like a tuba and a trumpet," Daniel said.

Hale said he has noticed a difference in Daniel, and other students who participate in the camp, once they return to school each fall. Their math and reading scores often are up, and there is a noticeable overall improvement.

Campers also are provided free breakfast and lunch through the Owensboro Public Schools summer feeding program.

The camp will continue throughout the month of June, and the district is still accepting registration for Estes students who are interested. To register or learn more, parents or guardians should call Estes at 270-686-1030 or visit the school at 1675 Leitchfield Road.

Foust Elementary School also has a similar camp taking place through the month of June. Foust students interested in attending should call the school at 270-686-1060.

Bobbie Hayse, bhayse@messenger-inquirer.com, 270-691-7315.

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