Summer camps are known to increase knowledge and engage children during the summer holidays. However, the COVID-19 pandemic placed a freeze on all activities that required face-to-face interaction during the summer of 2020. The purpose of this paper is to describe the planning, implementation, and evaluation of a virtual summer camp for children. Our virtual camp “Whimsical Wednesdays" was hosted by a Historically Black College and University (HBCU) that is dedicated to changing children's lives and providing service to the community. We recruited children aged 6-12 to attend the virtual summer camp through informational flyers posted on the institution’s website, Instagram, Facebook, and other social media networks. The camp ran for five consecutive Wednesdays during July 2020 and engaged children in 60-minute sessions between 11:00 a.m. and noon. An average of 20 children participated each week in topics such as performing arts, reading, STEM, health and wellness, and cultural awareness. Overall, the camp demonstrated that children and facilitators were able to engage and interact using the online platforms Zoom and Nearpod. All participants expressed satisfaction with the program through survey evaluation instruments. Lessons learned include successes and challenges with technology, evaluation, and data collection methods. These lessons will be used to improve future programs.
Dr. Andrea McDonald is an Assistant Professor of Health and current curriculum chair in the Department of Health and Kinesiology at Prairie View A&M University. She received a Ph.D. in Health Education from Texas A&M University, College Station, a Master of Science in Human Sciences concentration in Dietetics, and a Bachelor of Science in Dietetics, Foods, and Nutrition from Prairie View A&M University. She is a Certified Health Education Specialist and credential in Effective College Instruction by the Association of College and University Educators and the American Council on Education. Prior to joining the PVAMU faculty body, she served as a research assistant in the Transdisciplinary Center for Health Equity Research at Texas A&M University and a research coordinator for the Rural Minority Health Disparity and Community Research project. Most of her research focuses on underserved minority youth, health behavioral risk factors within the USA and Caribbean, obesity, health disparities. Dr. McDonald is a Fellow for the Texas Public Health Association and an active member of the American Academy of Health Behavior (AAHB), Textbook and Academic Authors Association (TAAA), and National Institute for Staff and Organizational Development (NISOD). Also, she is a member and advisor for Eta Sigma Gamma at Prairie View A&M University. Camille S. Burnett, Ph.D. is Assistant Professor of Mathematics Education and Director of the SMaRTS (Science, Mathematics, Reading, Technology, and Social Studies) Curriculum Resource Lab in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at Prairie View A&M University. She has almost 20 years of combined experience in the K-12 and higher education settings. She is also the principal investigator for funded capacity-building projects to enhance her institution's infrastructure for STEM teacher preparation. Her current research focuses on high school students’ understandings of mathematical functions, STEM education and teacher preparation, and best practices in teaching. Sonia K. Boone holds a Ph. D. in Curriculum and Instruction. She is a retired Assistant Professor. Her areas of research interest include best practices for teaching and learning for children in PK-12 environments and for teacher candidates. Dr. Angela Branch-Vital is the department head and professor of Health at Prairie View A&M University. Dr. Branch-Vital received her bachelor’s degree (1997) and Master’s degree (1999) from Prairie View A&M University. In 2008, she received her Doctorate in Behavioral Science/Health Promotion with a concentration in Epidemiology and Biostatistics from University of Texas School of Public Health. Dr. Branch-Vital’s areas of research interest include social inequalities, health disparities and social change, developing interventions within the communities, evaluation, and redesign of health services, and multi-level models in public health. Dr. Branch-Vital’s current collaboration involves methodologic research in the areas of obesity and condom use among minorities. Dr. Michael L. McFrazier, Professor and Dean of the Whitlowe R. Green College of Education at Prairie View A&M University, holds a bachelor’s and master’s in music from Baylor University and received his doctorate in educational administration from the University of Arkansas. He has traveled extensively performing and serving as a music clinician and adjudicator. His research focuses on minority teacher recruitment and preparation, college access and success, student mentoring, and leadership development.
McDonald, Andrea Ph.D.; Burnett, Camille; Boone, Sonia; Branch-Vital, Angela; and McFrazier, Michael
"Making a Difference in Children’s Lives: Lessons Learned from Planning and Implementing a Virtual Summer Camp During the COVID-19 Pandemic,"
Journal of Family Strengths: Vol. 21:
1, Article 2.
Available at: https://digitalcommons.library.tmc.edu/jfs/vol21/iss1/2