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By @iWroteLazarus

Addie’s last day at Kid Power was Friday, July 20.  We’ll miss her as she finishes up her studies at Auburn!  Check out her observations of the Kid Power camp in southwest DC. --Rashid

Walking into Jefferson Middle School was a completely different experience from the day before when I visited the elementary school camp. The school was very big and quiet and the hallways were stuffed with tall lockers; everything about it, including the smells, took me right back to the halls of my own middle school. After doing a little wandering around, I found the two Kid Power classrooms.

 

When I arrived, the students were in the middle of their first academic session of the day. One classroom was working on math and the other on literature. Due to my lack of math skills, I joined the literature class instead. When I walked in, I was warmly welcomed by a staff member who told me that the kids were writing about what they are good at and how to succeed at being good at that thing. Every student was diligently working on their paper and most every student had a staff member by their side to help when they had grammar questions or writer’s block.

The organization of the class and the diligence of the students, as well as how much they each seemed to be enjoying writing, impressed and intrigued me. When it came time for the students to go to their second academic session, the two classrooms switched and a new group of students came in to work on their papers as well. Two students I talked to in particular thrived when writing about activities at which they were skilled.

The first student was writing about how to be good at soccer but was stuck on how to begin his paper. A soccer player myself, I was excited to talk to him about soccer and stimulate him to think about what makes him, in particular, a good soccer player. Once we started talking about soccer, the position he played, and how he scores goals, he was on a roll and couldn’t look up from his paper.

The next student I spoke to was writing about how to be loud. She told me that everyone always told her she was loud, but she always considered it a good thing and now she got to write about why. She was an amazing writer with an incredible amount of insight into herself and her talents and how to use them in the right ways. She really didn’t need my help at all.

When the second academic class was over it was time for lunch and all of the students strolled down to the lunchroom. It was large and loud and the tables were packed with groups of four or five students eating, talking, and laughing. I sat at an empty table since all of the tables where the kids were sitting were full. About a minute later, I was approached by the girl I had talked to earlier in the day who had written about being loud. She sat with me and asked me question after question, rarely allowing me to slip in a question about her. Her friends, one by one, came over to sit and talk with us as well and within in 10 minutes our table was packed with beautiful young girls, all with outgoing and playful attitudes.

When lunch was over, it was time for recess so my new friend grabbed my hand and we walked outside. She guided me to the steps, we sat down and we continued talking about everything that came to mind. She told me about herself, her triplet sisters, and her interests and I told her about mine. She was an incredibly smart and mature young lady; we could’ve talked for hours.

Once recess was over, it was time for enrichment. Earlier in our conversation she had told me about enrichment and had insisted I go with her to gardening. We boarded the Kid Power bus with ten or so other excited students and set off to the garden. On the way, all of the students anxiously told me about the two different gardens they visit and what all they get to do to make sure both gardens are healthy and productive.

When we drove up to the garden, I was amazed by how plentiful it was and how much the students knew about it. One boy, in all red, who at first had been shy, took my hand the second we got off the bus and walked me around to every different plant in the garden, proceeding to tell me what it was, when it would be ready to pick, and if it needed to be watered.

When all of the students were off the bus and inside the garden, they each began picking weeds where they needed to be picked, carefully and thoroughly watering all of the plants and then they each took turns picking the fruits and vegetables that were ready to be picked. Once the garden had been nurtured and every student agreed that they had succeeded in taking care of the garden for the day, we proudly boarded the bus to head back to camp.

The entire day I spent at the Kid Power middle school summer camp was awesome. Similar to the elementary school camp, the middle school students and the Kid Power staff have an incredible relationship. They work together and enjoy each other’s company during every aspect of the day, including academics, enrichment, and even lunch. The amount of respect and admiration that both the students and the staff have for each other is special and honorable. The students demonstrated not just how much they learned in one day, but also how much they enjoyed learning it. I am incredibly thankful for how much they have taught me. 


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