The Summer Vacation Blight

The Summer Vacation Blight

Written by Dr. Bill McElwee | Board Member


I have always loved summer vacation. When I was in school I got an education in all kinds of things when my family went to the shore. I learned about waves, sand, fish, crabs, gulls, sunburn, and sadly in those days I learned about warfare as my bare feet were stained by oily tar from ships sunk by U-Boats off shore. History and the natural sciences were learned in the lab at Wildwood by the Sea.

Recently, Time Magazine had a lead article entitled, “The Case Against Summer Vacation”. It was based on research studies which document the tremendous “summer learning loss” experienced by inner city kids who do not have the summer learning advantages (camps, travel, etc.) that most kids in our society have. Lacking enrichment programs, they fall behind their peers who live outside the city environment. The study reports, “By ninth grade, summer learning loss could be blamed for roughly two-thirds of the achievement gap separating income groups”.

The report goes on to credit summer programs like ours here at Fellowship House for helping alleviate the losses these kids experience. Given the economic and political climate at present, it is unlikely that government is going to take responsibility for meeting the educational needs of inner city children. Where society fails, the Christian community, spurred on by the teaching of Jesus, does its best to fill in the gaps.

Here at Fellowship House this summer we are helping the kids of our neighborhood in two ways. We will have a day camp program on site during the month of July, making use of our newly painted gym area and our lovely new Butterfly Park recreation area in the lot behind our building.

During June and August we will be arranging for “Away” camps at the shore, on the lake and in the mountains. Through these programs we will keep the learning curve up while adding that most important ingredient, knowledge of God’s Word as we know it in Jesus. The building is just buzzing with activity every day as our interns, volunteers and staff work with our kids.

The expense of one day for a child is $10. For one week it is $50. A month is $200, and two months is $400. Please consider sponsoring a child for a day, a week, a month, or even their whole summer. You will be enabling a child from South Camden to attend a safe and positive day camp at Fellowship House. You will also be giving a child the opportunity to have a life-changing experience at a camp outside of the city. They will never forget the experience, thanks to you.

There are also ways you can help the children with your time. Click here to see volunteer needs for the summer program.