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S’mores and Science

Two girls Six-year-old Josie Yates shared that her favorite part of the Summer Scholars program was the science center… because she got to eat s’mores.


Other campers excitedly agreed that making s’mores was one of the best parts of the July session of the Amherst Summer Scholars program. What makes this program stand out from other summer camps is that these kids were not talking about simply cooking marshmallows over a fire.


Solar oven  Nine-year-old Grace Dolce explained the process of placing a s’more on top of black paper and tin foil to attract the sun and putting it inside of a pizza box to cook it. The kids were outside on the pavement creating their very own solar ovens!


The Amherst Summer Scholars program for kindergarten to fifth graders combines academic programming with field trips during three themed sessions. The July session theme is “Fun in the Sun,” held at Windermere Boulevard Elementary School, where 72 campers not only learn in a traditional classroom setting, but they also get to do outdoor activities and go on trips. The August session themes are “Full STEAM Ahead” and “Animal Planet.”


As a physical education and wellness teacher at Smallwood Drive Elementary during the school year, Summer Scholars director Jennifer Higgins knows how to educate kids while keeping things active.


“It bridges the gap between summer and the upcoming school year,” said Higgins. “Summer Scholars provides students with confidence going into September through reiterating the information students learn during the school year in the form of fun summer activities.”


This system proves to be a success, for the kids truly enjoy it. Many campers were excited to share that they were going to all three sessions and that they have been attending Summer Scholars for many years.


“I love it,” said Grace. “The counselors are so nice, and I like making new friends here every year.”


Nine-year-old Evan Schobert enjoyed going on the field trip to Green Lake in Orchard Park. Campers were ecstatic to participate in the “playground on the water” obstacle course, where they hung out on giant inflatable “igloos” and jumped around on a floating trampoline.


Ten-year-old Connor Brown-Hall’s favorite center is technology, where campers get to play with iPads and use tape to create art. Seven-year-olds Adelaide Bennett and Georgia Rybicki love swimming sessions on Tuesdays and Thursdays.


Students with solar ovens made from pizza boxes Jennifer Nguyen’s favorite activity is “Reader’s Theatre.” Campers create props and rehearse for a play that they perform at the end of the two-week session.


Higgins said that out of the 72 kids in attendance each session, around 45 to 50 of them attend all three sessions. Summer Scholars is not a camp that focuses on making a profit. This camp benefits working families for a relatively inexpensive price.


Higgins’ goal is to make the camp fun and hands on, saying that “kids are more motivated to learn when they are enjoying themselves.”