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By Samantha Johnson, with introduction by Adrian Pio

There’s nothing so sweet for an 8-year-old student as the day that school lets out for the summer. It means two whole months of freedom to have fun and play with their friends. Unfortunately, at this crucial age for learning, it can often mean two months to let skills they have built all year in school get rusty.

Summer programs are a great way to keep students active in their communities in the summer and engage with peers they have never met before. A major goal of many summer programs in Boston is to keep students on track for the next school year.

Blackstone Academy Summer Enrichment Program
Blackstone Academy is seven weeks long from July 5, 2013 to August 24, 2013, and serves children from ages 5 to 13.Home to the Blackstone Community Center, the Academy offers activities that serve multiple interests such as science, reading, field trips, arts and crafts, swimming, theater, gym, and more. They even have fun events like field days!  Located in the South End, this program is Monday through Friday and even provides breakfast and lunch at no additional cost. The weekly fee per child is $100. For more information visit their website.

Youth Connection Summer Program
Geared toward students ages 10 to 13, this seven-week program connects kids to their community and provides a safe space for different lifestyles and activities. Field trips are included and healthy, active lifestyles are promoted by providing gym and pool activities, dancing, and lessons of general healthy living. This is a great opportunity for children to build relationships with peers in a tolerant and safe environment. The cost is $100 per child including a registration fee and membership fee. For more information, click here.

St. Stephen’s B-Safe Summer Program
St. Stephen’s B-Safe is a relatively low-cost program! At only eighty dollars per child, you can enroll your child for the whole summer. Another perk is that it is located in multiple neighborhoods of Boston and even outside of Boston in Chelsea. Between academic support and enrichment activities, students are much less likely to slide in their reading and math skills! St. Stephen’s also mentors students to build their leadership skills.

Summer Fenn Day Camp
Summer Fenn is a little less than a month in the middle of the summer and is for children ages 5 to 15. The great thing about this camp is that it has many different kinds of camps and activities to be a part of, leaving many choices available. It provides activities based on a wide range of interests, such as: swimming, drama, sports, arts and crafts, photography, and many more. Another perk is that registration is ongoing. Lunch and transportation are provided! Prices vary depending on the program and can be found online. Financial aid is also available, if needed.

DayJams Rock Music Day Camp
This camp, located in Newton, is perfect for those students who love music! DayJams Rock is Monday through Friday, for ages 8 to 15; no musical experience is required to enroll. Children will work together on music and this program will provide a great creative outlet and build on their skills and interests. Tuition varies by location. For more information, visit their website.

About the authors:
Samantha Johnson was a 2012-2013 corps member serving on the National Grid team with Blackstone Elementary School. Adrian Pio was a 2012-2013 corps member serving on the MFS Investment Management team with Dever-McCormack Lower School in Dorchester.

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