I want to start by giving a big thank you to the CSGC and the Earl/Mendillo families for awarding me with a grant this summer. As mentioned in my first update, I received a grant to teach an introductory computer science class to campers at the Southampton Fresh Air Home (SFAH), a local summer camp at which I have been volunteering for years. SFAH is a not-for-profit, co-ed, sleep-away summer camp (that also provides year-round activities) for youth with severe physical disabilities, located in Southampton, New York. The class was optional for all campers. I’m delighted to report that many spent their time learning with me!
Spanning the eight, one-week camp “sessions” that SFAH offered this summer (campers could elect to be a part of any number of these week-long sessions), I worked with roughly 50 different campers. The majority of them had never coded before due to various reasons, the most common of which was because their school did not offer it. Fortunately, because of the grant I received from the CSGC, every single camper learned how to write and execute their own computer program; almost all for the first time. Some campers elected to write many programs this summer and plan to continue in the future.
I taught this class because I wanted all of these campers to try computer science and possibly introduce them to something that they enjoy. I am extremely happy to say that many of the campers went out of their way to tell me how they want to continue coding after our final class. The new laptop will be used throughout the year for virtual camp programming and as an aid to administrative work. Not only did I enjoy my time teaching this class at SFAH, I’ve also made new friends (one from the Pioneer valley!) and learned just how far a positive mindset and an eagerness to learn (something all the campers that I worked with possessed) will take you.
-Ford Holmen ’22
The photos below were taken for SFAH’s website and used in the end-of-summer slideshow.