At Catalina Foothills Summer Camps, students get creative and stay active


students a Catalina Foothills School District Community Schools Summer Camps This summer, they expressed their creativity, developed new skills and increased their problem-solving skills with activities ranging from cake decorating to photography and yoga.

Approximately 150 to 200 students in Tucson attended weekly morning and afternoon summer camps of interest to them each week from June 6 through July 22 and enjoyed working as a team, building relationships, and developing skills that help them to be successful in the classroom and in life, said Maria GrodmanDistrict Program Coordinator for Catalina Foothills Community Schools.

We’ve had a summer camp program up here in the Foothills for over 20 years,” Grodman said. “We’ve downsized a bit during the pandemic, and now we’re trying to build our programs like they used to be.”

“We wanted to make sure the students in our district had something fun and rewarding to do over the summer,” Grodman said, noting that the program is open to the entire Tucson community.

“We do everything from sports camp — this week we actually have our lacrosse camp — we do photo programs, we do drama programs, we do a lot of cooking programs — the kids really enjoy the cooking programs,” Grodmann said.

“We have STEM classes, we have classes on Harry Potter and Percy Jackson. We’re open to chess programs, puzzles, games – anything you know a student might be interested in,” Grodman said.

“This is a great place to have a gentle learning experience while having fun,” Grodman said.

Students just finishing kindergarten through eighth grade attended the fee-based summer camps at Catalina Foothills High School in Tucson and preschool and preschool students participated in camp activities Valley View Early Learning Center in Tucson.

The program has changed over the years, “we used to have one-hour classes and now the kids changed every hour”. Catalina Foothills Community Schools Summer Camp are more of a three-hour block format, with an hour for lunch and a break between morning and afternoon sessions, Grodman said.

Families can also enroll their students in expanded hours of 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. mornings and 4 to 5 p.m. afternoons, Grodman said.

students in high school had options take an online ACT prep course, driving school and behind the wheel training, enroll as a junior counselor at a summer camp, or attend a soccer speed and agility camp.

Summer learning programs are important to students “because they keep the kids busy, they make new friends, and they learn new things,” Grodman said.

“We had a preschooler who decided to take a knitting class this week, and his mom was surprised,” Grodman said.

“It’s really just a good opportunity for kids to engage in different things that they don’t get during the school day and that they might not get in an after-school program.”

At the beginning decorate cake, mr joe taught the students basic cake decorating techniques, and the students took their creatively decorated cakes home each day to share with their families.

Mr. Joe answers students’ questions during the start of cake decorating at Catalina Foothills Summer Camps. Photo by Lisa Irish/ AZedNews

When Mr. Joe, who owned a catering business in Vermont and is new to Tucson, demonstrated how to glaze a cupcake, he challenged the students to “pull the icing on so you can see exactly what you’re pressing.” put. First we flatten the sides.”

“We will decide where our backs will be. I like finding a seam where I left off the spatula, so I’ll do it right here. See where I left off my smoothing?” Mr. Joe asked his students.

Mr. Joe, who has taught cake decorating many times, encouraged his students to use lots of icing, since topping a chocolate cake is more of a challenge than a vanilla cake.

“I like working on real cakes and not just seeing them finished, but actually doing it,” Liliana said while frosting her cake.

Tess, a cake decorating student, said she enjoys making new friends in class, while Julie said she enjoys making friends and learning how to decorate cakes.

“I’ve never done it before and you learn a lot. It’s really fun and interesting,” said Margot.

Mr Joe said he has enjoyed working with some of his future students this summer and “showing them that they have the confidence and they can do that after a little guidance.”

In photography and image processing, Jess Gracea professional photographer, taught the students how to use all the features of DSLR cameras, including how to shoot in manual mode.

Students learned photography through creative assignments such as portrait, sports, landscape, composition, lighting techniques, and more. Students also learned some basic to intermediate levels of photo editing to create stunning images.

As the students took photos in the gym with high-end DSLR cameras, Gracia said, “We learned all the different types of techniques to actually control all the settings in the cameras so they can get the most out of their photography. “

Anna Lea, a student in the photography class, said: “What I like most about photography is the experience. It is really fun.”

Photography student Bella said, “I really enjoy photography because of all the creativity you can put into it and how much you can do with just a basic camera.”

This class “is a new thing to learn and it could become a hobby of mine because I really enjoy it,” Bella said.

“Also that and the people. The people are very nice,” said Anna Lea.

Studying in the summer “is super important to them because it keeps their minds active and it teaches them to see and see the world in a different way than they never thought they could,” Gracia said.

“We do tasks like teaching them how to photograph shadows, colorful objects, or sometimes so-called ugly things on the ground that we walk past every day and don’t see,” Gracia said.

Photography student Landon said, “I like taking nature and wildlife photos” and “studying the camera.”

“They said we could go anywhere in the high school and photograph anything we wanted,” said Logan, a photography student.

“My favorite thing to do is edit photos,” says Jack, a photography student.

“The key here is getting them to see the world from a different perspective,” Gracia said.

At Mindful Yoga, students learned different yoga postures and breathing exercises to help them in their daily lives.

Students get creative and stay active with the Catalina Foothills Summer Camps Yoga class
Students do poses in yoga class at Catalina Foothills Summer Camp. Photo by Lisa Irish/ AZedNews

As the yoga teacher led the students through a series of poses, she asked the students to end with a pose they liked.

After a short pause, the yoga teacher encouraged students to try lizard, chair, and happy baby poses.

Later in the session, the yoga teacher said, “Bring it to warrior one, then open it to warrior two.”

While students were painting rocks with watercolors during a break, yoga student Emma said, “I love doing poses. I like to stretch,” while Peyton said, “My favorite things to do are play games, make new friends, and have a good time stretching.”

“This is a great opportunity to learn, have fun, be in a safe space, be in air conditioning and be outside for a little bit,” Grodman said. “We definitely have a community feeling program here in the summer.”


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