HOLLYWOOD — The Summer Academic Enrichment Camp, hosted on the Hollywood Reservation, is no ordinary education-oriented program. The trailer was teeming with children talking and giggling as they eagerly looked for their bathing suits. Glittery clay pots expecting to sprout seeds lined the windowsills of the camp’s trailer, and a flag-drawing contest was held in honor of the Fourth of July. It was almost 11 a.m., and the morning of tutoring had passed. The time had come for the part all the Tribal children were waiting for: swimming.
“With the Enrichment Camp, the kids not only get recreational and athletic component, they bridge over to the next grade,” Julissa Collazo, tutor coordinator, said.
With the junction of the Boys & Girls Club with the Education and Recreation departments, learning has been revolutionized into an easy, exciting and comprehensive summer program. The campers refresh and further their academic endeavors in the mornings, as well as have intense summer fun in the afternoons.
This is the first time that the three departments have come together to create an enrichment program that benefits Tribal youth.
The camp also provides special services, such as the Children’s Center for Diagnostics and Therapy treatment team, that offer children language or behavior therapy.
“[The Tribal campers] are putting education first and learning good habits,” Collazo said.
On Mondays and Wednesdays, Recreation provides activities and games in the afternoon, such as relay races and obstacle courses. The Boys & Girls Club organizes activities and games every Tuesday and Thursday afternoon. They also provide breakfast and lunch daily, feeding all 67 children enrolled in the camp.
“It’s better to keep them occupied,” Work Experience camp assistant and recent high school graduate Cindy Osceola said. “Better than them getting into trouble.”
Osceola helps with the children, ranging from kindergarten to eighth grade, as they learn math, reading and other basic skills. She said she loves the job. The counselors work with the campers through worksheets, word problems and most importantly, games.
“There are more games than textbook learning,” second-grade counselor Linette Odon said. “It gets the kids more involved.”
Learning games, such as dice or chess, teach them how to develop healthy relationships with one another, not just develop themselves academically.
“It’s good because of the academics and games,” Odon said. “The games that the Boys & Girls Club provides help with teamwork.”
The merging of the Education Department, Boys & Girls Club and the Recreation Department brings the Tribe together, as well as the concepts of education and amusement. As the campers ran against time and each other through the Fourth of July relay race, they playfully competed as a team. Each egg fallen from a spoon or dive onto a slip-and-slide was teaching the Tribal youth what it means to play by the rules and cooperate with one another.