Students Who Participate in YMCA Summer Programs Make Learning Gains

Students who participated in the Power Scholars Academy Camp through the YMCA last summer were found to have gained an average of 2 months in reading skills and 1.5 months in math skills. Parents and teachers surveyed about the program’s impact reported that the students improved in other areas as well. Eighty-seven percent of teachers reported an increase in their students’ self confidence, while 90 percent of parents reported that their child had a more positive attitude about school.
The Power Scholars Academy Camp uses a curriculum developed by BELL, and the camp runs for six-weeks, 6.5 hours a day. The program targets students who are struggling academically and who lack access to summer learning opportunities. Lauren Gilbert, BELL’s president and chief strategy officer, believes it is the programs’ ability to change students mindsets that leads to the academic gains. “We put a lot of energy into working with the scholars to really see themselves as young people who are capable of learning” said Gilbert.
Bela Moté, vice president of evidence-based youth development interventions and national director of character development with the YMCA of the USA, praised the Power Scholars Academy Camp collaboration with BELL as one that “truly works”. “The program is not only boosting students’ reading and math, but also their self-confidence, and communication skills, which is a powerful combination,” said Moté in a news release. “We are hopeful this program will make a difference in reducing the achievement gap in our schools.”

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