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Camps keep 600+ Surrey students engaged during spring break

Media%20(5).jpgStudents have been taking part in a variety of activities through camps held by Surrey's CSP and Safe Schools departments. (Image: Surrey Schools)
More than 600 Surrey Schools students of all ages have been attending camps and programs held at various district sites during spring break.

The camps and programs are facilitated by the district’s Community Schools Partnership (CSP) and Safe Schools departments and available to students referred to the program by their schools.

Designed to provide engagement, stability and learning opportunities over spring break, the programs include everything from tennis, basketball and golf to magic lessons, cooking lessons, drumming, theatre and visual arts.

There are also programs like Windspeaker REACH, which helps youth from Indigenous and Métis backgrounds upgrade their skills with professional certifications such as first aid, FOODSAFE and High 5. The offerings were designed in partnership with the district’s Aboriginal Education department and are supported by federal grants.

“These are for students who might not otherwise, for whatever reason, have these kinds of opportunities during these break periods in the school calendar,” said James Speidel, CSP assistant manager.

Speidel said the goal is to ensure students who need it have the same sort of structure and stability that being in school provides, including healthy nutritional snack options throughout the day, as well as breakfast and lunch.

“For a lot of these kids, being at these camps gives them a sense of purpose,” said Speidel. “It allows them to create bonds with other students while also receiving mentorship from older students and adult leaders.”

In addition to providing opportunities for students who may not have many other options over the break, the programs also double as a chance for senior secondary students to gather valuable mentorship experience by volunteering as facilitators for some of the elementary-age camps.

“Most of our elementary sites have a handful of high school volunteers, so not only does it give them a chance to develop their leadership skills, but it also gives them volunteer hours needed to graduate,” explained Speidel.

For Safe Schools, the two key programs running over spring break are its Next 100 Years and WRAP programs, both in partnership with the Surrey RCMP. Unlike the CSP camps, which were only held in the first week of the break, the Safe Schools programs are spread over the two-week period.

With both programs featuring a strong focus on mentorship and positive life choices, the Safe Schools initiatives serve around 115 students and provide opportunities for youth to explore self-improvement, resilience and building trust with others.

“Thanks to a collaborative effort with our community partners, we’re proud to be able to design and implement these types of programs for students to connect, learn and thrive,” said Meredith Verma, manager of CSP.

Thank you to all of the volunteers and program coordinators for providing opportunities to students over spring break!

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