Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Week 5: Endurance

"When the going gets tough, the tough get going" - we've all heard that saying. When a situation becomes difficult, the strong will work harder to meet the challenge. Strength comes from finding a way to stay in the game, dig your heels in and make it happen!

Our theme for the week focused on a character trait that relies on resistance skills, and what it takes to keep productive in stressful times:


Rediscovering Roots

In the early years of our summer camp, we planted a garden as a community service project. Our site partner, St. Alban's Episcopal Church, had a food pantry, and we were able to donate the produce to their pantry. When the pantry closed, the garden project ended. 

This year, in an effort to expand our camper's understanding of food and making healthy choices, we decided to re-established the garden. Along with developing knowledge in various Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) fields, it also gives campers the opportunity to get hands-on experience with science and math. While learning about plant development, the kids also learn about water cycles, garden graphing and plant identification.  Thanks to Ginny Roberts, Purdue Extension Office, for your guidance and development of this project.

Ms. Jones takes her class, the Brave Horses (4th - 5th), outside for garden graphing. Each week, campers measures the plants' progress, then record their findings in their garden graphing notebooks. The kids include a thoughts page about watching the plants grow. Cucumber and tomatoes are the favorites!

Through the garden project, we are connecting our campers to agricultural traditions that bring sustainability to our communities.  Ms. Jones explains how the garden gives campers a chance to discover new foods and understand it's origins:
"Knowledge of fruits and vegetables is so important. I think it's a powerful connection for [campers] to see the changes in each plant as they grow. Some of them have never seen a turnip before!"
By the way, we have plenty of fresh basil that needs a good home!  If you'd like to pick up some, give us a call at 317-828-1848.

Campers enjoyed learning the plant parts and relating that to their snacks and food labs with Chef Rice. As part of their plant activities, their snack featured jicama. Most campers had never heard of or tried jicama, but wanted seconds right away. Rock-paper-scissors determined who would get the remaining jicama snack!

The American Pastime

Baseball shaped some of the early traditions that we still practice today. During World War II, baseball was so important to the people that they started integrating the teams. The first player who crossed the "color barrier" was Jackie Robinson. After finishing college and military training, he joined the Kansas City Monarchs of the Negro American League in 1945.

Our role models this week include Hall of Fame player, Jackie Robinson, and Freetown Vintage baseball player and team coach, Bernard McFarland. Those who we look up to are not just well-known athletes, but also local representatives of our city and community. It gives campers the opportunity to meet and talk with them about what they do for their community. Mrs. Ellen reflected on this week's lessons:

Learning about Jackie Robinson was an exciting class activity! We used our team building exercise - Human Baseball, with Freetown Village facts connected the physical movement of players. Seeing a live baseball game pulled together the learning dimensions of the players and the game itself.

What better way to celebrate our heroic role models than going to Victory Field? Kids were able to see the Indianapolis Indians play against the Lehigh Valley IronPigs. In their Freetown Village t-shirts, campers enjoyed some popcorn and sang the Star-Spangled Banner to christen the game!

Hey Rowdie!  Meet the Brainy Badgers!  

Ms. Jones, our Brave Horses (4th - 5th) Instructor, explains to campers the rules and lingo of baseball. Surprisingly, many kids are not familiar with the game. Jones recalls some great moments she had with her class while watching the game:
"We sat right by third base, so the class had a pretty good view of the game. As I'm explaining the game, I said that a player stole the base. The kids replied with, 'Where did he take it'?  Then we saw ourselves on the Jumbotron, and the class was all excited. It was such a nice day, and the kids had a great time!"

Our theme is "It Takes a Village" - please consider a contribution to our progress! 
Freetown Village Summer Camp continues to progress in the mission to educate children under the umbrella of tradition, family and history. 

Any questions? 
Please contact Freetown Village at 317-631-1870 or freetown@freetownvillage.org.

Posted by Raechel Amey

Friday, July 11, 2014

Week 4: Honor

In the spirit of Independence Day, this week's theme describes a character trait that focuses around honesty, integrity and respect:

Our campers celebrated "Spirit Week" with an exciting field trip to the Crispus Attucks Museum and High School!  Crispus Attucks was considered the first killed in the American Revolution. He is remembered as a martyr for American oppression and “the first to defy, the first to die.”

When Crispus Attucks High School opened in 1927, it was the only public high school designated for Indianapolis' black student population until integration began in 1967. For decades, the photos of all their graduates are immortalized in the school hallways. Many of our campers and teachers founds parents, grandparents, and other family members that attended the high school. One of our teachers, Mrs. G, our Powerful Antelopes (K - 1st) Instructor tells us how she first found the pictures of her family on the wall.
"The first time I saw the pictures, I was in 6th grade. My mom, dad, aunts, and uncles all went there. My preacher went there too, but he wasn't a traditional student. He worked on a railroad, stayed at a boarding house and went to school 3 days a week."

We also learned that the original faculty consisted of highly educated teachers - all had at least a Masters Degree and some held PhD's.  While they were able to attend colleges and universities, they were not yet able to teach at the collegiate level.  

Due to segregation, these quality teachers were restricted to teaching on the high school level. On the bright side, students left Crispus Attucks High School with valuable college-level education. 

Today, the Crispus Attucks Medical Magnet High School includes a college prep program for students pursuing careers in the science or medical fields.

Posing in front of the main entrance.  The school was also known for its Gothic/Tudor architecture.  

Mrs. Ellen, our Brainy Badgers (2nd - 3rd) Instructor, created a scavenger hunt for her class. Every time they saw the word "Attucks", they would tally up the numbers and use them in a math game. She was thrilled that the kids enjoyed the experience and connected with the history of our community. 

Jordan R., points to the retired basketball jersey of his uncle, Willie Gardner #13.  

Go Tigers!

Posted by Raechel Amey

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Week 3: Decisiveness


We are building character, one positive trait at a time.  As we wrapped up our third week of summer learning, we discovered that decisiveness is the ability to make choices quickly, confidently and effectively.   From team building activities to conflict resolution our campers have ongoing opportunities to think through problems and determine solutions is the key message in developing our positive character traits.

It Takes A Village: Meet Program Partner Asante Children's Theatre (A.C.T)

Asante Children's Theatre (A.C.T.) brought their energetic, educational theater troupe to Freetown Village Summer Camp this week! Stories came to life as the A.C.T. performers became multiple characters to tell a story that teaches campers life lessons while being entertaining.  

For the past eight years, our campers have looked forward to working with the A.C.T. facilitators. Their Prep 4 Life program builds children's strengths by incorporating various elements of performing including singing, choreography and theater. 
"The campers here are like sponges, they are willing to learn and grow, eager to try new theater components.  Even the Stage Direction Game (theater basics) is learning but fun.  It's an honor for me as a performer/instructor, to share with them what I've learned - I remember being their age, and it's rewarding to be able to share my experiences to help develop and appreciation in them for the performing arts".  Tori G. , A.C.T. Prep Facilitator.

(A.C.T. Facilitators, Ms Tori, Mr. Jocque, Ms. Rochelle, Mr. Ryan)

Garden Project

Informing our kids of the necessities of life, such as growing food, is essential to educating the next generation. In a world gone to manufactured foods, it's vital to teach young people how plants nourish our bodies and our environment.

Working side by side our partners, Purdue University Cooperative Extension, our garden is looking super happy this week! The plants include kale, tomatoes, romaine, cucumber, green pepper, lavender, sunflower, and nasturtium. Don't they looks yummy? Mmmm!

Algebra Project

Knowing how to be confident in your decisions is very useful when applied to your education. As our math tutors put campers into groups, they hold up flash cards with math problems on them to see who can answer first. While campers are having fun competing with their peers, they are also learning how to quickly and confidently voice their thoughts.

Freetown Village is truly grateful for having such amazing partners and volunteers who put so much of their time, effort, and care into our campers lives. Many thanks, all!

Check back next week to see what positive character trait we will be learning about and what activities our campers will experience!

Posted by Raechel Amey