At the end of the last school year and throughout the summer we were all impacted as COVID-19 spread through the US and the world. Many children were sent home from school and finished the school year online. Following the lead of Duval County Public Schools, Girls Inc. of Jacksonville sprang into action, transforming our previously in-person curricula to accommodate online learning and finish out the school year. However, with summer quickly approaching, it was clear that the annual Girls Inc. of Jacksonville Elementary, Middle, and High School summer camps would have to transition to virtual programming as well. Lead by our Director of Programs, Alexis Howard, our amazing programming staff was able to adapt quickly and plan an entirely new curriculum that would be conducive to a virtual summer camp.
Our elementary girls participated in a 6-week long virtual summer camp through Zoom. The theme of this year’s elementary summer camp was “Women in Aviation and Engineering.” Learning about female legends in aviation and STEM like Amelia Earhart, Sally Ride, Bessie Coleman, and many more. Our girls also participated in virtual cultural enrichment, healthy living, social-emotional learning, and financial literacy activities throughout this year’s virtual summer camp. We were also excited to introduce guest speakers and organizational partners like Junior Achievement and North Florida’s Professional Women Builders.
Our 4-week long middle and high school virtual camp, although shorter than elementary, was just as informative and impactful. Our Middle and High School Program Managers, Juanita Forman-Lee, Glovita Dear, and Brenda Phillips, led our older girls through high school and college readiness activities, including how to create and manage a budget and how to make healthy food choices for their bodies. Guest speakers for this virtual camp included speakers from local universities such as FSCJ, UNF, and EWC. These speakers, college students themselves, gave our girls an insight into what post-secondary education is like and how to manage stress and balance school and social time. They also touched on issues concerning the social climate and talked to girls about feelings of hopelessness and frustration and how to turn those emotions around.
Here at Girls Inc. of Jacksonville, the safety of our girls, our staff, and our community is our highest priority. We are extremely proud of the adaptability shown by our programming staff during our virtual summer camp this year.
Following the lead of Duval County Public Schools, Girls Inc. of Jacksonville has returned to in-person programming for the current school year. We are operating under strict COVID-19 guidelines and making sure all surfaces are sanitized and safe for our girls. We are looking forward to an awesome 2020-2021 school year!