Summer Language! Program – Jalen
Jalen has been involved in the Neighborhood Tutoring Program for several years. He’s well known around the office and will often steal away from the Student Room on tutoring nights to chat with staff members about whatever is going on in his life. This summer, Jalen is transitioning from lementary chool to iddle chool. He is excited and nervous about this new part of his academic journey. One of the things that excites Jalen is that he will now be able to access more of the continuum of services FLOC offers. This summer, he was able to participate in his first overnight trip to FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center in West Virginia. When he returned, he shared story after story with his tutor, Michelle. The experience inspired several writing prompts, and propelled him to want to read more about nature and the outdoors. Because he was excited and had a personal connection with the material he was learning, he made remarkable improvement. In two of the three areas that FLOC assesses, Jalen made more than a year of growth. This is especially noteworthy since summer programming at FLOC lasts only six weeks. Everyone in the office is excited to watch as Jalen continues to advance
Summer Math Program- Aliyah
You can’t overstate the importance of focus. FLOC students are focused. They work with staff members, and volunteer tutors to make plans to achieve their goals. Aliyah, a rising 8th grader, provides an example of what can be achieved through hard work and focus. Everyone who worked with her this summer said the same thing, that it was like she made a decision to really buckle down and work. She moved through the curriculum at an impressive rate, passing 13 lessons over the course of 6 weeks. Her tutor had to work hard just to keep up with her. When the dust settled, she had made almost two years improvement in her fluency skills, and nearly three years of improvement in her general calculation abilities. Aliyah is focused on what she needs to do in order to find academic success, and if this summer is any indicator, she’ll be there in no time.
(Cody Laminack is the NTP Program Coordinator at FLOC)
In March FLOC learned that long-time supporter Kevin Conley’s son, Kevin (KC), was going to be hiking the Pacific Crest Trail, a trail that runs from the Mexican border to the Canadian border. Not only did KC have a goal to complete this trail, but he also had a goal to support FLOC by raising $10,000 for programs at the Outdoor Education Center. To date, KC has raised over $6,000 for FLOC’s kids.
KC has been on the trail since April and seen some amazing things and met incredible people along the way. You can check out his personal blog to follow his journey at http://theadventuresof30pack.com/. KC hopes to inspire the FLOC community — especially the students — through his hike, by showing that with hard work and dedication, anything is possible. We are so incredibly grateful for all that KC is doing to support FLOC. Please check out his Razoo Fundraising Page if you are interested in supporting KC and FLOC. Below are some recent pictures KC sent us from the Trail!
(Kate Fleischer is the Development Assistant at FLOC)
Welcome to the FLOC Scholars Family!
My first two weeks at FLOC have been fast and exhilarating. As the new College Access Coordinator, I have the privilege of overseeing weekly workshops for middle and high school students in the Scholars Program. With less than a week under my belt, it was time for my first Returning Family Orientation. I was excited to meet families who have been with FLOC for years and interact with students who are truly invested in the program. The office was buzzing with anticipation as we watched the steady influx of parents and students register for the upcoming school year.
Within a few days, the office was prepping for round two of Returning Family Orientations and this time, I was able to hang out with students. I was able to hear about friends from the previous year and talk about applying to college in the fall. I was finally able to make connections and start building relationships with the students. I even recognized a student who was part of my interview process!
After each orientation however, I noticed something unique about our organization. FLOC connects with parents and students on a deeper lever and has become part of everyone’s family. It was easy to see as everyone walked through the door with smiling faces excited for the year to start. It was inspiring to see staff members welcome back families and reminisce about old times. The FLOC community has watched students grow from timid middle school students to mature young adults who are now preparing for the postsecondary realm, a true testament to the motto “Teach. Empower. Transform”. As I continue my journey here at FLOC I hope to experience more heartfelt moments and continue building an environment of love and family.
(Kimberly is the College Access Coordinator at FLOC)
Summer camp just ended here at The Outdoor Education Center. This summer was full of laughing, camping, canoeing, hiking, zip lining, and much more! At the end of each camp we encouraged the campers to write down some of their favorite camp moments from our Leadership, Wilderness Voyager, Arts on the Mountain, and Ridge to River Camps. Below are some of their memorable quotes from the 2013 summer camp season…
- “Kate, a counselor, rapping”
- “Best friends and camp buddies”
- “Mafia and other campfire games”
- “Meeting new people”
- “Meeting new people and actually going through with camp even though it was my first time away from home.”
- “Going down the zip line”
- “Canoeing on the Shenandoah River”
- “My favorite memory here at the OEC was meeting new and interested people. I enjoyed playing star wars with the kids and making them laugh with my loudness.” – David
- “Going to Shepherdstown and doing scavenger hunt. Making new friends. Junior counselors were the best!”
- “Being at the last campfire, singing in the car with my friends and everything else!” – Abbey, Leaders In Action student from Charles Town Middle School
Students, FLOC staff and Wilkie staff who came together for Trivia-Scream
I am super excited to write my first blog as the new Bilingual Program Coordinator at FLOC. Although I have only been here for a month, I have participated in several fun activities and have observed some amazing tutor-student pairs. For example, I helped to coordinate the Trivia-Scream trip to Willkie Farr and Gallagher LLP, which was a lot of fun. The trivia questions brought back memories of watching the Magic School Bus cartoon show and reading Junie B. Jones books as a child. The students were so engaged in trying to answer the questions (and highly energized by all the ice cream) that they even attempted questions that I did not know the answer to – like how many pillars are on the Lincoln memorial?
Other than that trip, I helped to supervise both the Summer Math and Reading programs. As a supervisor, I got to see tutors and their students creatively tackle concepts while still having fun. Before I actually supervised, the interns told me that the only thing I could really prepare for was my flexibility – I needed to be open to trying new things and problem solving in different ways. It wasn’t until program started that I realized what that actually meant. I commend the interns and the tutors for running around, speaking to parents, getting supplies, testing students, sending feedback forms/congratulations certificates, getting snacks, and setting up the store, among other things. It was obvious to me how invested the tutors were in trying to help their students, especially as they stood nervously outside of the Fishbowl rooms as their students tested each day.
The last day of program was very emotional because I knew that the interns were leaving and that program would not start again for another couple of months. I had relied heavily on the interns to get me up to speed on the ins-and-outs of FLOC because of how competent they were and how willing they were to help me. It was very sad to see them go! What was great about the last few days, however, was administering the post-test. While I did not have the pleasure of grading all the tests, the interns let me know that a great number of our students made improvements this summer – which is excellent news!
All in all, I am glad I was able to start during the summer program because it gave some insight as to what the school year will bring. Hopefully, I will get to see some of the same hardworking tutors and students I met this summer at my programs!
(Aurin Agramonte is the NTP Bilingual Program Coordinator at FLOC)
Arts on the Mountain Campers
Just last week the Outdoor Education Center hosted twenty-one students for our first ever “Arts on the Mountain Camp!” To kick off the week, students tie-dyed shirts, donated by Skinner Law Firm, designed team flags inspired by Salvador Dali and Margaret Bourke-White, and created their own unique twig art. As the week progressed, students learned about art in the natural world. Counselors led campers around the OEC’s property to learn about forest ecology and the numerous concepts of tree identification. Students proceeded to create silhouette tree paintings, leaf masks and personal native-plant terrariums. Every camp at the Outdoor Education Center focuses on interactive learning during our low and high ropes team building courses. This past week our middle school students were able to practice using their teamwork, leadership, problem-solving and communication skills. For students to express their creative sides each cabin created a unique skit to perform in front of the entire camp; many groups decided to use comedy, dance, and singing to convey their group’s impression of camp!
Campers also travelled to Shepherdstown, West Virginia, a very artistic town close to the Outdoor Education Center. While visiting Shepherdstown, students had the opportunity to talk on-air at a local radio station and complete a historical, photo scavenger hunt. As the week progressed, we had a guest photographer discuss his profession with the students and a local band, Chelsea McBee and the Random Assortments, play music for the students. Many of the campers enjoyed the band by singing along and dancing. On Thursday, students visited an environmentally friendly home where we discussed how to use natural construction materials along with alternative architectural techniques. Students also sculpted their own clay creations; many sculptures reflected their time at camp at the Outdoor Education Center.
On the students’ last day at camp they played bingo, painted benches in the shower house, and had a group campfire with games and many s’mores. All of the students from D.C, Harpers Ferry, and Charles Town Middle Schools enjoyed their time at the OEC during our inaugural “Arts on the Mountain Camp!”
(Sarah Nowicki is an AmeriCorps Vista at FLOC’s Outdoor Education Center)