The bright halls of HISD’s Foster Elementary, located in Houston’s historic Third Ward, were illuminated with the toothy grins of over 180 young campers. Welcome to Camp Adventure!, where students become campers, state-certified teachers are known as camp counselors, classrooms are converted into cabins, and learning is transformed into fun. Any student attending an HISD Title I school is eligible to register for this immersive, two-week long, summer day camp program.
Gleeful laughs fill the cabins as counselors lead campers in hands-on STREAM (Science, Technology, Reading, Engineering, Arts, and Math) experiments specially curated to complement the ideas and themes present in each day’s featured texts. Camp Adventure! activities are designed to captivate students as literacy and STEM concepts are synthesized to create a uniquely didactic experience.
Campers are divided into cabins according to their grade level, where they participate in age-appropriate activities with the assistance of their counselor, along with dedicated community and corporate volunteers dubbed “Junior Counselors”. Younger campers in Kindergarten through second grade enjoyed a read aloud of The Tiny Seed by Eric Carle and subsequently constructed their very own herb gardens to take home! Later in the day, our youngest campers unleashed their creativity, feeling inspired after a reading of Peter H. Reynolds’ The Dot. Using flour, salt, water, and food coloring, campers created paint used to craft their masterpieces.
Older campers in third through fifth grades enjoyed How This Book Was Made by Mac Barnett, decorating scientific journals they will use to document their discoveries for the duration of camp. Campers put their scientific journals to work that very afternoon as they recorded findings from their very first experiment—creating a roller coaster! Inspired by Lynda Jones’ Five Brilliant Scientists, campers configured rides worthy of admiration from even the most thrill-seeking adrenaline junkie.
Teaching Artists from the Houston Symphony have developed content exclusively tailored for Camp Adventure!. Community embedded musicians led our youngest campers in songs and stories, carefully selected to generate an interactive experience integrating music and literacy instruction.
For our older campers, all the world’s a stage thanks to theatre workshops provided by teaching artists from Theater Under the Stars (TUTS). Campers adapted stories from page to stage, working in teams to re-enact scenes from a children’s book. Experienced actors direct the students in exercises designed to instruct campers on the value of self-expression and confident communication skills.
Activity coaches from The Astros Foundation hit a home run with our students as they guided campers in physical recreation activities selected to highlight the value of teamwork and good sportsmanship. Before beginning the afternoon’s games, cabins gathered to read pages from The Astros Foundation’s exclusive picture book titled Fun at Bat, where campers engaged in thoughtful dialogues surrounding what it means to never give up.
After a packed day of exploration, and excitement, it was time for campers to turn the page on their first day at Camp Adventure!. Waving goodbye to their new friends, campers left for the afternoon feeling eager to discover the possibilities that awaited them at Camp Adventure! the following day.