Left to right: Taking the ferry to Outer Island; Playing games at Lighthouse Point Park; Exploring at Outer Island
The Steward Team Citywide Camp is a Solar Youth summer program open to youth across the city and employs high school-aged youth to work as Youth Educators. In Steward Teams, 9-13 year olds build on what they learned and accomplished in Citycology, Solar Youth’s program for 4-8 year olds. Steward Team members learn more complex environmental issues and concepts, participate in their first camping trips, and tackle a more sophisticated 9-step Community Service Action Project (C-SAP). As youth get older, they are given leadership roles in Steward Teams, helping the adult and teen staff lead games, and guide fellow participants through the C-SAP process. Like all Solar Youth programs, the main goal of Steward Team camp is to nurture youth into happy and healthy stewards of their lives. Steward Team is a core program of Solar Youth’s “Cycle of Stewardship” - a menu of programs for youth ages 4 to 18+ that allows youth to learn about local ecology, participate in outdoor adventures and become agents of change in their communities, as they build on experiences over time, maintain relationships, progressively gain more leadership skills, and finally serve as neighborhood leaders and role models for younger children. Steward Camp is offered to children living in low-income New Haven neighborhoods. For the first time in 2012, it was run separately from our other summer camp, Citycology (4-8 year olds). Paid Program Interns help lead the program, with Adult Educators at their side. This partnership between Youth Educators and Adult Educators is a core relationship for all Steward Teams, benefitting both parties as they work together to teach curriculum and lead activities for the youth. During the summer of 2012, Steward Camp was held five days a week, running from July 2nd to August 2nd. The program took place at one of our partner schools, Barnard Environmental Magnet School in New Haven, as well as all the parks and educational environments New Haven has to offer. Like all programs, Steward Camp follows Solar Youth’s unique program model: Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! In this model, youth investigate the local ecology of their community (Kids Explore!), identify environmental issues that affect the health of people and the natural environment, and seek solutions through a process of problem-solving and youth led action (Kids Do!), then teach what they have learned and accomplished to others through public education projects (Kids Teach!).
The expected outcomes for youth who participate in Steward Team are: x A demonstrated development of, at minimum, eight of the Search Institute's 40 Developmental
Assets (the building blocks of positive youth development, the possession of which has shown to have significant effect on youth's ability to resist negative influences and achieve success in adult life). The Developmental Assets we measure are within the categories of 'constructive use of time,' 'empowerment,' 'commitment to learning,' 'positive values,' and 'social competencies.' x A demonstrated increase in environmental knowledge and commitment to environmental stewardship. In addition, outcomes for Youth Educators include: x A demonstrated increase in understanding of best principles and practices of youth development. x A demonstrated development of employability skills, such as timeliness, public speaking, personal
financial management, work ethic and a commitment to excellence. Finally, as a result of implementation of youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) and Public Education Projections (PEPs), Steward Camp contributes to an ecologically healthier and more environmentally conscious City of New Haven and its environs.
During the Summer of 2012â€Ś Hours of program offered Teenage youth hired Total youth enrolled Out-of-Neighborhood Adventure Trips Youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs) Youth-led Public Education Projects (PEPs)
152 8 37 13 3
PROGRAM DEMOGRAPHICS Female Male African-American Latino/a Caucasian Other
43% 57% 86% 8% 3% 3%
From left to right: Stewards use binoculars during a scavenger hunt on Outer Island; Tug-o-war at Lighthouse Point Park; Canoeing on the Mill River. PAGE 2
Summer 2012 Steward Curriculum Environmental topics addressed and activities conducted during Steward Camp this summer included: Ecosystems/Food Chains
Night Experiments/ Rhodopsin
Estuaries, Rivers and Lakes
Developmental topics addressed and activities conducted during the 2012 Summer Season included: Literacy
Kids Explore! As part of every Solar Youth program season, youth not only have a chance to explore their local ecology, but they also participate in several out-of-neighborhood explorations! Summer Explorations
Teambuilding at West River Memorial Park
Stewards rotated through three different stations that highlighted important teambuilding and communication techniques. It was a great way to start off the summer; youth got a chance to practice the skills that they needed to relate to each other all summer!
Lighthouse Point Park
Stewards spent the day exploring the beach, identifying different creatures they found, playing large group games, and enjoying the scenery. The day concluded with a short visit to the splash park to cool off!
Biking at Edgewood Park
This highly eventful day starting with a ferry ride to Outer Island. Once on the island, Stewards joined a tour around the island, completed a scavenger hunt to look for local critters, learned about the effects of invasive species, specifically the Asian Shore Crabs! During this highly-anticipated biking adventure, Stewards demonstrated their capacity for kindness and support. While biking through Edgewood Park, youth could be seen sharing their bicycles and helmets with each other, as well as helping those who were not as experienced. PAGE 3
Water Field day at West River Memorial Park
From three-legged races to water conservation relays, Stewards loved this day filled with getting wet and working together as a team!
Exploring at West River Memorial Park
While doing some “urban hiking” through this local park, Stewards competed in a challenging scavenger hunt that included counting the number of newly planted trees in the area!
Water Day at Lighthouse Point Park
In the midst of a heat wave, Stewards cooled off by participating in some watersports that got everyone wet and working as a team!
New Britain Rock Cats Game Litter Clean-up at Edgewood Park
Canoeing at East Rock Park
Teach Day on the New Haven Green Camping at Devil’s Hopyard State Park Public Education Forum at the New Haven Free Public Library
On this very special trip, Stewards got the chance to watch the New Britain Rock Cats play the Binghamton Mets. Most of our Stewards had never seen a live sporting event before, and by the end of the day, baseball chants and Solar Youth songs were sung side by side! Chosen as the Community Service Action Project (C-SAP) by one of the three teams of Stewards, youth spent their day hiking through Edgewood Park, picking up trash along their way. Their hard work was rewarded by a real treat: they spotted a whole family of deer right across the trail! Thanks to New Haven Parks and Rec, Stewards explored Mill River in canoes, noticing all of the different sounds and smells of this new environment. All the youth agreed; this was an adventure they would never forget! After completing their CSAPs, Stewards visited New Haven Green to educate the public on what Stewards had accomplished throughout the summer. They were amazing ambassadors for Solar Youth, explaining to many passersby the issues in their environments and communities that were important to them! The eagerly anticipated overnight to East Haddam finally arrived! Complete with tent-building, night hike activities, stories by a campfire, and a hike to the river, this camping trip highlighted all the interpersonal skills that Stewards have been practicing all season. Stewards invited all of their families and friends to the New Haven Free Public Library for their Solar Youth Public Education Forum. The youth spoke about all the wonderful things they had done over the course of the season, and sang many, many songs! Congratulations Stewards!
From left to right: Cheering on the New Britain Rock Cats; Hiking West Rock; Water Conservation Relay.
Kids Do! After exploring their outdoor surroundings and participating in adventures further afield, youth identify an environmental or community issue they want to tackle, brainstorm solutions, develop plans to address the issue they have chosen and then implement and evaluate their project! We call this the Community Service Action Project (C-SAP) Cycle. Engaging in the C-SAP Cycle allows youth to hone their problem-solving skills, cultivates in them an identity as agents of positive change and makes their community a healthier and more beautiful place to live! Summer Community Service Action Projects
Hunting in Connecticut
Litter Clean-up at Edgewood Park
Effects of Oil Spills on the Oceans
Descriptions After determining that there are many sides to every story, Stewards decided to research the different opinions that surround both legal and illegal hunting in the state of Connecticut. They were touched by the plight of the White Tailed Deer, which is currently legally hunted in the United States. The youth set out to form their own opinions about the issue, and made a movie about their journey. Focusing on the problem of littering in their community, Stewards decided to spend a day cleaning up one of their beloved local parks- Edgewood Park. With the hope that leading by example would encourage others to stop littering in their community, youth cleaned their local park with energy and spirit! By the end of the day, they had four full bags of trash to show for all of their hard work! The Stewards chose to address the impact of oil spills as an issue that was important to them. After researching the issue, they realized that oil spills not only harm animal and plant life in the oceans, but also can harm humans! While completing research, they also learned the many ways oil spills can be avoided, and decided to inform the public to prevent oil spills from ever happening again!
Kids Teach! Stewards conclude the season by developing Public Education Projects (PEPs) that educate their peers, parents and general public about environmental and community issues that they care about. By designing and executing a PEP, youth have the opportunity to be recognized as public “experts” on important issues and “re-learn” important lessons from the earlier part of the season. Summer Public Education Projects Debate and Video about Hunting in Connecticut
Post-cards Highlighting Negative Effects of Oil Spills
Descriptions Stewards decided to hold a debate on the positive and negative aspects of hunting, believing it was the best way to educate each other and refine their own opinions on the topic. The debate was filmed and then shown to their families and friends at the Solar Youth Public Education Forum. Stewards drew pictures highlighting the negative effects of oil spills on animal life, plant life, and human health, and turned them into postcards to educate the general public, each with descriptions of exactly how harmful oil spills can be. Each steward chose two family members or friends to send the postcard to, asking them to spread the word!. PAGE 5
Teach Day Downtown New Haven
Public Education Forum
The youth separated into their CSAP group and roamed the New Haven Green with posters in hand, eager to engage people about their CSAPs. Every member of the public that they spoke with was excited to hear about their accomplishments, and one group left with a petition against oil spills signed by members of the New Haven Community! Filled with posters, songs, and presentations, youth took the stage one group at a time to present their Community Service Action Project. With over 20 guests in the audience, Stewards were proud to stand up with their friends and show off all their hard work. The evening ended with a slideshow of some of the most cherished summer memories.
From left to right: Exploring the Beach at Lighthouse; Riding the ferry from Outer Island; Collecting Asian Shore Crabs.
Solar Youth’s Evaluation Process Solar Youth measures its programs with a combination of evaluation tools, including (for Citycology) Portfolios (evidence and examples of youth community service and public education work), Family Feedback Forms, Community Feedback Forms, and exit interviews. The Family Feedback Forms are based on best-practice evaluation tools developed by the Search Institute.
Feedback from Participating Youth ’s Parents (Number of parents who submitted feedback surveys = 11) CATEGORY Youth Development Outcomes Prompt: “Because of Solar Youth…” Empowerment Adults in the community value my child My child is given useful roles in the community
% OF PARENTS WHO AGREED
91% 73% PAGE 6
Commitment to Learning My child is actively engaged in learning My child wants to do well in school Positive Values My child places a high value on helping others My child is more accountable for his/her actions Social Competencies My child’s planning and decision making skills have improved My child has learned to be a better friend My child is more sensitive to the feelings of others Environmental Outcomes My child’s knowledge about the environment improved My child is more responsible about the effect he/she has on the environment Quality Assurance I would recommend Solar Youth to my friends/other parents I would like to (see my child) attend Solar Youth next season
82% 91% 82% 73% 82% 73% 82% 91% 91%
From left to right: Performing at the PEF; Picking up trash at Edgewood; Biking at Edgewood.
Intern Feedback (Number of Interns who submitted feedback surveys = 7) CATEGORY Youth Educator Skills Outcomes “Participation in Solar Youth…” Prepared me to use a lesson plan to deliver lessons through experiential (hands-on) education. Prepared me to practice positive behavior management. Helped me to develop skills as a group facilitator. Prepared me to implement activities that involve multiple intelligences. Helped me to attain greater knowledge of principles of environmental education. Employability Skills Outcomes
% OF INTERNS WHO AGREED
100% 100% 100% 100% 85%
“After being an intern in Solar Youth…” I feel that my timeliness has improved. My preparation skills have improved. My public speaking skills have improved. My personal financial management skills have improved. My work ethic has improved. My commitment to excellence has improved. Environmental Outcomes “After being an intern in Solar Youth…” I know more about the issues and concepts affecting the environment. My commitment to environmental stewardship has increased. Youth Development Outcomes “After being in Solar Youth this season…” I feel that adults in the community value me. I feel that I play a positive role in the community. I want to do well in school. I feel that I am actively engaged in learning new things. I like to help others. I take more responsibility for my actions. My planning and decision-making skills have improved. I have learned to be a better friend. I am more sensitive to the feelings of others. Long-Term Impact of Solar Youth “My overall experience with Solar Youth, both this season and in the past, has…” Prepared me for future employment. Encouraged me to continue my education. Encouraged me to live a healthier lifestyle. Motivated me to seek out opportunities to help my community. Helped me to develop a more positive sense of self. Taught me to consider the impact of my actions on the health of the environment. Quality Assurance I would recommend Solar Youth to my friends. I would like to attend Solar Youth again in the future.
72% 86% 72% 71% 86% 72%
85% 85% 85% 86% 86% 100% 86% 100% 100%
86% 72% 71% 85% 100% 85%
From left to right: Drumming workshop; Water Field Day at West River Memorial Park PAGE 8
Quotes and Testimonials Steward Parents: “I love all of the staff! Young and old they are friendly and fun." “Alexandra is excited about learning and doing and taking an active part in a group." "It means a lot to have a camp with such high standards for campers and staff. You will always be one of my first choices in camps." "I love the variety of daily events that take place, as well as the building of social skills during times where the campers work as a team."
Steward Participants: Because of Solar Youth “I’m a better person."
“Thank you for having programs like this to help our future adults be more environmentally aware and knowledgeable of their surroundings.” -Steward Team Parent
From doing my C-SAP I learned “That the earth is valuable." Because of Solar Youth “I want to take more leadership and I enjoy learning." “I am a happy kid!"
Interns: “The most valuable part of the internship was learning different ways of behavior management. Once this skill is acquired and you have patience, everything can be accomplished” From working at Solar Youth “I learned how to communicate compassionately with the children instead of yelling. Also I learned new skills and how to interact with children of different ages.” My experience working as an intern with Solar Youth has “made me realize my full potential as a person and an intern. Also it has made me more responsible and aware of peoples’ feelings.”
What Worked Well Field Trips
Rotation Nation Days
Daily Staff Meetings
Why, and Suggested Adjustments The variety of field trips that were taken this season made it so every week there was something new and exciting to explore. The days that we went on trips had a great and efficient schedule, ensuring we were on the trip for just the right amount of time. Interns played an important role in behavior management and organization during the field trips, and they were very successful in taking on such roles. We were even able to go on a brand new trip this season-to go see the New Britain Rock Cats Baseball team. Each intern this season had specific as well as general roles and responsibilities; allowing for much growth in their different areas of strength as well as areas that needed improvement. The interns were responsible for leading the three teams throughout the season, as well as have a positive working relationship with their co-intern. Changing their roles midway through the season seemed to keep the spirits high among the youth educators because it gave them something different to look forward to each day. Although they were given a high amount of responsibilities (behavior management, lesson teaching, activity planning and execution), they were still extremely successful in building and maintaining positive mentoring relationships with stewards throughout the season. On these days of camp, the three groups took turns attending and participating in three different stations; a teambuilding station, an environmental exploration activity, and an art activity. Stewards enjoyed these days because of the many different activities they were able to participate in during one day. Having one or two of these stations placed outside was a good way to have Stewards experience different environments during the day. Although we had a number of interns run these stations during the season, it is suggested for the future that all interns are required to lead one of these stations during rotation nation days. Each morning and afternoon before and after camp, staff sat down for a meeting. In the morning we discussed the plan for the day, and in the afternoon we discussed the happenings of the day as well as assigned roles for the next day (afternoon meetings tended to last around an hour). It was agreed that these meetings were extremely beneficial to all parties who participated in them. We were able to create a very open and trusting setting where staff was able to express their feelings in a professional and mature way. It is suggested that these meetings continue to be as long as necessary, for they created a time to talk about any and all challenges and as a result those feelings were never carried over to the next day. It was widely agreed that the Teach day downtown New Haven was a huge success this season. Having the whole group split into their three PAGE 10
different groups, then spending around forty five minutes walking around the green finding different people to talk to was a great set-up. Prior to and after the split-up we were together for some large group games, which gave campers a nice break from walking around and talking to the public about what they accomplished. This is also a great location and time (lunch time for many local workers) to accomplish this teach day. Room for Improvement Reflection Time
Why, and Suggested Adjustments Throughout the summer there were many times that our daily activities ran longer than expected, and we did not have as much time as desired to reflect on the day. This sometimes caused the reflections to be rushed. After a long day of camp, it is suggested that in the future campers are allowed a silent time to reflect during this time period. This is a good way to allow campers to adjust to an atmosphere of reflection. Morning Activities (Morning The morning activity was done differently this season than in the past; Cruise) all of the campers went to breakfast and then came into the main room to participate in a short artistic morning activity for ten to fifteen minutes. It is suggested that in the future the schedule in the morning is as follows: only the campers that wish to eat breakfast go to breakfast, while the rest go to the main room to begin a more involved artistic activity which changes daily. Following this schedule, half of the interns would be at breakfast while the other half help with morning cruise.
From left to right: Learning about the Mill River; A first-time hiker going up West Rock.