Kids to improve literacy skills at Camp Maverick this June

This summer, kids from grades Kindergarten through 5th grade will be attending a camp where they can have fun and learn literacy at the same time. The camp, called “Camp Maverick – Rec ‘N Read,” will take place daily from June 5 to 30, from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

The camp will take place on the campus of Minnesota State University, Mankato. Brooke Burk, an assistant professor in Recreation, Parks, and Leisure Studies, explains, “Our home base will be the new Clinical and Health Sciences building. We’ll be in the library, we plan to use some of the gym space, and we’ll be outside as much as possible.”

The camp is for kids who have trouble reading and writing and are falling behind in those areas in school. Some of them may have learning disabilities. The hope for this camp is to help kids enjoy reading and writing and to teach them that learning is fun.
The schedule for the camp, Burk says, is this: “Each day will have about five hours of recreation activities and then three hours of targeted-specific literacy intervention.”

The “targeted-specific literacy intervention” encompasses three areas of focus. Burk explains these areas: “One is letter recognition and pairing the sounds of letters together.  Then we’ll have one that’s specifically targeted on reading, then another on writing.”

There will be four different themes for each week of camp, which are superheroes, the great outdoors, imagination station, and sports and games. There will be fun, recreational activities as well as reading activities associated with the theme.

“The first week will be superheroes,” Burk said. “We’ll have a lot of different activities related to superheroes. We might be doing different games, they might make a cape or a mask. Then the books that they’re reading will be about superheroes, and the writing that they’re doing might be poems about being a superhero. It’s all going to be connected.”

All of the kids attending camp will be placed into groups based on their age and their reading and writing levels The kids need to take an assessment prior to camp, so that the camp counselors and organizers know which group to put them in.

“Each child’s literacy intervention is designed specifically for them, so there’s going to be variation within each group,” Burk said. Putting the kids into groups will help them to make new friends at camp.

The cost for one kid to attend the camp is $170 per week. However, there is financial assistance available. When the parents sign up online, they indicate what amount they are able to pay.

“We have written grants in order to offset costs that families are unable to afford. Many of the families have been unable to afford any part of camp, so it’s nice that we have those funds so that we don’t have to turn anyone away,” said Burk.

The Allied Health and Nursing and Education programs, as well as the Mankato Clinic Foundation, are providing support.

The camp is put on by the Allied Health and Nursing and Education departments at MNSU. There will be 14 staff members, including the camp counselors, who are compensated with the grants. Camp counselors are students from the previously mentioned programs or from Social and Behavioral Sciences.

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