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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    UA recruits early with Summer Camps

    Yoga instructor Sharon Discorfano (top) teaches eight-year-olds (from left to right) Eleanor Allen Henderson, Donavan Miller and Kaelan Rae a yoga position. The Continuing Education and Academic Outreach are holding a series of summer camps for elementary, middle school and high school students.
    Yoga instructor Sharon Discorfano (top) teaches eight-year-olds (from left to right) Eleanor Allen Henderson, Donavan Miller and Kaelan Rae a yoga position. The Continuing Education and Academic Outreach are holding a series of summer camps for elementary, middle school and high school students.

    Some UA departments are turning their attention to community outreach and recruitment with summer programs, including a chess and yoga camp for third through fifth graders and an archeology camp for adults.

    The camps and programs partially fulfill the university’s duty as the land grant institution to outreach to all members of the community, said Robin Allen, Interim Associate Executive Director for Continuing Education and Academic Outreach.

    While there is something for every age group, many of the programs are geared for youth participants because they need something to do over the summer, Allen said.

    Arizona Youth University is one of the educational programs the university offers with 20 separate day camps sponsored by different departments across campus such as the James E. Rogers College of Law and the College of Optical Sciences, said Helen Macdonald, the senior program coordinator for Arizona Youth University.

    “”These programs open up doors for children from all walks of life and may very well spark the next Einstein,”” Macdonald said.

    Programs like Arizona Youth University not only provide children with educational opportunities during the summer but also give current UA students teaching opportunities, Macdonald said.

    “”Teaching this class has been invaluable, because it is the first time we have been out teaching with kids. I don’t think I could have learned this any other way,”” said Christina Culligan, a theatre arts education junior.

    Students will create and perform a play as well as make backgrounds and find their own costumes for the production, said Sarah Jane McDaniel, a theatre arts education senior who is teaching a two-week course for middle school students on the elements of theater along with Culligan.

    Brian Anderson, an assistant professor in the College of Optical Sciences is working with ninth through 12th graders at the college’s Optical Sciences Camp.

    “”The biggest challenge with teaching children is explaining complicated ideas in terms that they can understand while trying to show them the excitement of working in research,”” Anderson said.

    Along with the educational programs the university provides, there are several athletic camps during the summer that are teaching more than sports.

    For instance, the Lute Olson Wildcat Basketball Camp is known nationwide not only for teaching the fundamentals of basketball but also for providing high school students with a glimpse of the dorm life experience, said Jim Rosborough, the director of the camp.

    “”If you can make it through the camp, you are a pretty tough kid,”” Rosborough said.

    The programs offered during the summer are primarily self-sustaining, although in some cases, like the Honor’s College Summer of Excellence, the overseeing department pays some of the costs, said Stephanie Adamson, director of Summer of Excellence.

    Scholarships for the camps are provided by sources outside of the university, such as the Tucson Conquistadores for participants in financial need or who demonstrate a unique motivation for the camp, Rosborough said.

    But providing forms of outreach to youth is not all that these programs are about, the university has something to gain with programs through recruitment.

    “”I bet you that about 100 to 150 kids will go to college here from each summer,”” Rosborough said of the approximately 2,000 annual participants of the basketball camp.

    About 40 percent of participants from the Arizona Girls’ State summer program at the UA, a program for high school girls sponsored by the American Legion Auxiliary, choose to attend one of the three state universities, said Penny Maklary, the director of Arizona Girls’ State program.

    “”We hope the community will come to see what the U of A has to offer with these programs,”” said Allen.

    Luna Falk, a Tucson sixth grader and participant of the Nike Aquacat Swim Camp, said, “”It was a really good experience for me, even though it dried out my skin.””

    The UA may have some high expectations to meet if the goal of the camps is recruiting participants.

    “”I want to go to college either here or the University of Denver because I have heard great things about both schools, but I think they need better dormitories here,”” said 11-year-old Falk.

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