The Summer Learning Collaborative (Summer Collab) is a Wilmington based nonprofit that works in tandem with existing community based agencies to execute project-based curricula and individualized reading programs with low-income children. In the span of just a few years, SummerCollab has expanded its reach,
both geographically and numerically. This year, the organization serves over 2300 youth and is pushing the boundaries of learning in the summer across the State of Delaware. The organization employs over 50 teachers as instructional coaches to traditional camp counselors and 30 high school students who work in
leadership roles on-site at community agencies. In pursuit of Making Summer Smarter, SummerCollab engages over 200 stakeholders throughout the year.
Although primarily serving campers—or explorers, as Summer Collab likes to call them—in Wilmington, this year, Summer Collab has expanded into Sussex County, with locations in Lewes and Georgetown, in partnership with La Esperanza, Lewes Historical Society, Sussex Academy, Western Sussex Boys and Girls Club, Georgetown and Dagsboro Boys & Girls Clubs.
In total, Summer Collab worked with approximately 200 explorers in Sussex County, a number which will grow to 450 next summer. Through partnership with the Sussex County Health Coalition, La Esperanza, Georgetown B&G Club, and Dagsboro B&G Club as well as Sussex Academy and Seaford High School this initiative has been able to flourish is Sussex County.
This helps the Sussex County Health Coalition meet its goal of expanding youth prevention programing in Sussex County. While Summer Collab’s model has previously focused almost exclusively on the K-5 age group, this year—all of whom get eight hours of project based curricular instruction each week for six weeks—the organization is piloting three Tyler’s camps which will serve nearly 500 middle school youth located in Wilmington, Sussex Academy, and Lewes sites. Tyler’s Camps provide the state’s highest need middle-school youth with a world class summer experience. Last summer, campers at the Wilmington Tyler’s Camp were able to choose from exciting options that spanned far—from coding to animation—and wide—from ballet to wrestling.
SummerCollab has partnered with organizations like Microsoft, The Boy Scouts, Longwood Gardens, Wilmington Ballet, and others in order to provide campers with committed instructors and extraordinary enrichment opportunities. Next year, Summer Collab hopes to open seven new Tyler’s Camp—several of which
will be located in Sussex County—and provide hundreds more youth with unprecedented access to unique opportunities.
Here are some of the amazing results of this program expansion:
- We invested $25,000 in talent, technology, curriculum, coaching and supply management at Western Sussex B&G Club. They drove 82% Learning Loss Reversal with their campers and an average growth of 2.5 months in literacy; and 3.6 months in high frequency word recognition, vocab and phonics. Their kids used Learning Edge this summer, to sharpen literacy skills. All counselors received 10 additional hours of training with STRIVE—How You Lead Matters, consistent coaching throughout the summer, and a brand-new project based curriculum inspiring engagement and critical thinking in campers.
- Funded through Arsht Cannon, we were able to serve 65 low income minority youth—with a focused strategy on Latino recruitment, through our Middle School Leadership Academy Pilot. Students engaged in 6 weeks of literacy and leadership development, followed by interest exploration at Tyler’s Camp—a new institution introducing new choices to our campers, including athletics, music, arts and engineering. The Leadership Academy culminated in a week-long Boat Build in Lewes, where students launched 10 boats they personally constructed over the course of the week in partnership with Lewes.
- 200 of youth served locally • 25 additional professionals interacting, teaching and mentoring youth this summer
- 28,000 hours devoted to Summer Learning (using students as a multiplier)