Youth Summer Programs at Cal State L.A. | Spotlight

A wrap-up of youth
summer activities
at Cal State L.A.:

Discovery Summer Camp (grades K-2):
Offered by the Anna Bing Arnold Children’s Center, the Discovery Summer Camp taught science concepts using art, music, literature, poetry and movement. Following the California State Standards for Science, the curriculum explored the deep oceans to the far reaches of space through hands-on projects and activities.

EOP Summer Bridge (high school seniors admitted to Cal State L.A.):
The Summer Bridge Program provided a first-year transition from high school life to university life for about 150 first-generation, low-income college students of diverse ethnicities and cultures. It aims at closing some of the gaps between high school skills and what is required for university study.

IMPACT LA Engineering & Science Summer Camp (grades 6-8):
The IMPACT LA Summer Day Camp was led by Cal State L.A. science and engineering graduate students. The young campers participated in creative design challenges, innovative science activities, outdoor games, and hands-on activities. Part of a National Science Foundation (NSF) program, IMPACT stands for Improving Minority Partnerships and Access through Computer/Information Science/Engineering-related Teaching.

PREM Summer Research Collaborative (high school students):
This summer, six high school students participated in research through the CSULA-Caltech PREM (Partnership in Research and Education in Materials) Collaborative. It was established to enhance and promote diversity in materials science research and education in the Southern California area, by fostering and nurturing interdisciplinary interactions between faculty and students at CSULA and Caltech that advance the discovery and understanding of new materials.

Summer Transportation Institute (high school students):
With two four-week sessions, the Summer Transportation Institute offered promising Los Angeles-area high school students the opportunity to explore career choices in transportation. Under the direction of Civil Engineering Professor Hassan Hashemian, the program included field trips; projects that promotes hands-on learning and teamwork; guest speakers who discussed their work; and numerous on-campus educational activities.

Upward Bound (grades 8-10):
The six-week Upward Bound summer workshop assisted low-income, first-generation college students in pursuing a postsecondary education. The program strived to instill the importance and value of college through a rigorous academic program and caring staff. The program also provides the following services: Saturday Academy, enrichment activities and academic advisement.

Youth Sports Camps (various age groups):
Cal State L.A.’s Intercollegiate Athletics offered summer camps in basketball, volleyball and baseball. The two four-day basketball camps welcomed boys and girls entering first through 12th grades. The baseball program’s four camps coached boys and girls ages 5-14. The volleyball program was open to girls in seventh grade through 12th grades.

Summer fun...It’s all in the mind

Local kids sharpen writing skills through summer camp

Pictured: Teachers leading students through different team-building exercises at the Young Writers’ Camp.
Teachers leading students through team-building exercises during the Young Writers’ Camp at Cal State L.A.

Beaches, pools and the great outdoors were not the only locations for local kids to discover exciting and enriching activities during the sweltering days of summer.

In fact, hundreds of knowledge-hungry youngsters recently visited Cal State L.A. to participate in a variety of fun-based educational activities, from youth sports camps to Upward Bound. (See sidebar for some of the youth activities that were offered this summer on the CSULA campus.)

For Tomas Garcia of San Gabriel, Venezia Garza of Hacienda Heights, and more than 150 young budding writers, they participated in Cal State L.A.’s Young Writers’ Camp (YWC) to enhance their literary skills and develop their creativity.

YWC teachers Alma Orta and Yvette Torres pictured with six-year-old Tomas Garcia in the first-grade class.
YWC teachers Alma Orta and Yvette Torres pictured with six-year-old Tomas Garcia in the first-grade class.

Tomas’ mother, Pilar Morin, said, “I wanted him to keep up with his reading and writing skills in the summer. It’s a great creative opportunity and the writers’ camp program makes learning fun.”

As part of the YWC culminating event, sponsored by the L.A. Writing Project at Cal State L.A., Tomas and his first-grade classmates presented letters they wrote to President Barack Obama.

Venezia’s mother, Gloria Garza, was so impressed by the YWC at Cal State L.A. that her daughter returned this year. “It really helped improve her writing,” she said.

However, second-grader Venezia confessed that she enjoyed art the most. She said, “My favorite part was when we got to mold the clay into an animal. I made a dog because I like dogs.”

Pictured: YWC teacher Julia Lee and seven-year-old Venezia Garza in the second-grade class.
YWC teacher Julia Lee and seven-year-old Venezia Garza in the second-grade class.

Fundamentally, the creative element is considered beneficial in helping to build up these young minds. In a summer camp environment tailored for children, grades K-7, YWC encompassed a variety of fun-filled writing assignments and invigorating activities.

For students, grades 8-11, it was a good time of learning and discovering the creative elements of writing and mastering the techniques of essay writing through the University’s Summer High School Writing Institute. Some parents indicated that they specifically like the fact that the program also exposes their child to a college environment.

Also offered by the L.A. Writing Project, the YWC captivated aspiring filmmakers, grades 6 to 12, with the basics of scriptwriting, cinematography, computer editing, and directing.

Participants in the camps and institute came from several area cities, including Alhambra, Baldwin Park, Bell, Commerce, Glendale, Glendora, Granada Hills, Hacienda Heights, Los Angeles, Montebello, Monterey Park, Pasadena, Pico Rivera, San Gabriel, South Pasadena, Walnut, Woodland Hills, and Van Nuys.

The L.A. Writing Project at Cal State L.A. aims to build an ongoing and expanding community of young writers and readers. The objectives are also for the young students to improve writing confidence, analyze different genres of writing, engage in constructive critiques, and receive one-on-one instruction. For more information, call (323) 343-5901.

Youths gain income, work experience in the summer via EPIC

For almost 40 years the EPIC (Educational Participation in Communities) Program has been coordinating the Summer Youth Employment Program. At Cal State L.A., EPIC currently works with two local community partners—Para Los Niños and the Maravilla Foundation—to place more than 50 young people enrolled in their programs in various offices throughout the University. The youths in this year’s program are ages 14-21 and either in foster care, General Relief recipients, or in families that receive Food Stamps or CalWORKs. In addition to being paid a minimum wage by their agency for the hours they work, the kids receive workshops on higher education, job readiness, and financial literacy. They are also mentored by their University supervisors and EPIC student coordinators, with great emphasis given to encouraging them to consider attending an institution of higher learning, especially Cal State L.A. For more information, contact Jorge Uranga, director of EPIC, at (323) 343-3380.

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