Summer 2015 A Record Breaking Summer Message from Executive Director, Joanne Sciulli
SY SUMMER 2015
NEW - Leaders-in-Training
NEW - Adventure Camp
Youth Educator Internships
During the summer of 2015, more youth participated in Solar Youth programs than ever before. In 6 different programs, 174 youth (we call Stewards) had a summer filled with exploration, problem-solving, skill and relationship building —a 60% increase in from the year before (108). Three camps were based at Barnard Environmental Science School - Citycology for our 4 to 8 year olds, led by teenage Youth Educators; Steward Camp for 9 to 13 year olds; and NEW this summer, Leaders-in-Training Camp for 11 to 14 year olds. In the Westville Manor neighborhood, teens participated in Green Jobs Youth Development, building social and employment skills as they implemented community improvement projects. And finally, we created a NEW Adventure Camp – 3 sessions for youth ages 7 to 17! In addition, we wrote a comprehensive Business Plan that lays out an ambitious vision of growth. After 15 years of successful youth development programming, we see the need to not only serve more youth, but deepen the supports we provide with the ultimate goal that ALL YOUTH ARE EMPOWERED TO ACHIEVE LIFELONG SUCCESS. Thank you to all the FOSY (Friends of Solar Youth) who made this a summer safe, fun summer filled with learning and growth for so many! Enjoy the details below!
By the Numbers “What I learned from this program is that we are all different, but when we came together we can do great things.”
During the Summer of 2015… Number of SY Summer Programs Total youth enrolled Internships for teenage youth Out-of-Neighborhood Adventure Trips Youth-led Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs)
6 174 28 50 10
Solar Youth Summer 2015
Citycology Camp “Since joining Solar Youth my daughter has learned how trash is collected and how important it is to recycle. She likes to help take our recycling out to the bins and she wants to be outside more than before."- father of two CTY Stewards
For 5 to 8 year olds, co-led by teenage Youth Educators Stewards Enrolled: 44 Interns Hired: 8 Citycology Camp is a 5 week long intensive youth development, leadership and hands-on environmental learning program. It brings children ages 4-8 together to learn about the city’s ecology and to develop community service and public education projects that cross neighborhood boundaries. Co-led by teenagers, trained and hired as Youth Educator Interns, and adult educators, this summer program explored themes of the New England forest, Urban Ecosystems, the Long Island Sound, and Health and Wellness. Students learned about these topics by playing games, singing songs, making crafts, performing skits, conducting science experiments, and taking field trips. Weekly field trips for all reflected that week’s theme, giving students the opportunity to experience what they learned in a real life context. They visited Sleeping Giant State Park, Meigs Point Beach at Hammonaset State Park, the Maritime Aquarium, CCRA’s Trash Museum, and Lighthouse Point Park, while also enjoying engaging visits from special guests - Curious Creatures, the New Haven Public Library Readmobile, AcroYoga and Zumba instructors, and Martial Artists. Each day, Interns and Educators ran a morning meeting to getting Stewards excited about the day ahead. Most days, morning meeting had a focus - Mindful Mondays, Affirmation Tuesdays, and Thankful Thursdays. This helped instill empowering values within our youth. Stewards were also given an opportunity to participate in free time when they could dress up in silly costumes, go through slip ‘n slides, draw with chalk, blow bubbles, and explore the school’s garden. As an introduction to Community Service Action Projects, Stewards were familiarized with the idea that they could be “every day heroes” in their community. At the end of the summer, they dressed up as super heroes while participating in trash clean up in West River Memorial Park. This year, Citycology Camp concluded with a Public Education Forum and celebration, where Stewards demonstrated what they learned through reading aloud, poster art, and singing songs.
Because of Solar Youth… Youth Development Outcomes for ALL Program Participants Commitment to Learning • …participant is actively engaged in learning • …participant wants to do well in school Empowerment • …the community values Solar Youth participants • …participant is given useful roles in the community
% YOUTH AGREED
% PARENTS AGREED
Steward Camp For 9 to 13 year olds, co-led by teenage Youth Educators Stewards Enrolled: 37 Interns Hired: 5 Steward Camp follows Solar Youth's program model of Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! The theme of this summer’s Steward Camp was Stewardship. Each week we explored a different aspect of Stewardship. Week one focused on “Stewardship of Self.” Campers learned about healthy eating with Toni Ellis of UConn's Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program, and learned creative ways to express themselves during a poetry workshop with guest Jason Dorsey. During week two, we focused on being “Stewards of New Haven.” Youth learned about the "3 R's" of Reducing, Reusing, and Recycling during games like Recycling Bingo. Campers created art out of trash, and then showcased them in a Steward Camp art gallery. We also traveled to Long Wharf Nature Preserve and helped care for this local habitat by removing invasive species and picking up litter. During week three, we focused on “National Stewardship.” We visited Mystic Aquarium's "Washed Ashore" exhibit, which teaches about the negative effects of throwing trash into the ocean. During a trip to the Thimble Islands, Stewards learned about invasive species, and the harmful effects they have on the ecosystem.
“[My son] is more engaged by being involved within his community. Before coming to Solar Youth he has always been very shy. Now he won’t stop talking.” -Parent
Week four was all about Community Service! Each Steward helped identify a neighborhood problem, and planned and executed a Community Service Action Project to address that problem. Youth-led projects addressed gun violence and cigarette and alcohol abuse. For our final week, Stewards created posters to showcase to their families everything they learned and accomplished this summer. After our very successful Public Education Forum, we ended the summer with an exciting overnight camping trip to Devil's Hopyard State Park in East Haddam, CT. For many Stewards, it was their first time tent camping.
Because of Solar Youth… Youth Development Outcomes for ALL Program Participants Positive Values • I/my child places a high value on helping others • I/my child is more accountable for his/her actions Social Competencies • My/my child’s planning and decision making skills have improved • I/my child has learned to be a better friend • I/my child is more sensitive to the feelings of others
% YOUTH AGREED
% PARENTS AGREED
81% 91% 75%
96% 93% 96%
Solar Youth Summer 2015
Leaders-In-Training For 11 to 14 year olds Stewards Enrolled: 12 ““The camp was a blessing. I thank Solar Youth for allowing children to have weeks of fun and excitement. ……The staff has been truly amazing and patient.” –LIT Parent
With support from the National Fish & Wildlife Foundation, this summer Solar Youth ran a five week camp for our 11 to 15-year-old Leaders-In-Training. LIT participants focused efforts around Long Island Sound and its relation to New Haven communities. Thirteen youth joined forces at the Barnard Nature Center to learn about watershed dynamics, human impacts on the Sound, and our effects on water and the interconnectedness through it and our watersheds. The Leaders-in-Training Camp also focused on communication, problem-solving and project management, providing youth opportunities to earn a performance stipend based on accomplishments throughout their participation, as well as to go on multi-day outdoor adventures. After graduating from LIT, students are poised to become full-fledged Youth Educator Interns at Solar Youth. This past season was split into five themes. During the first week students recapped Our H2O and What’s In It, including trips to Hammonassett State Park, exploration of the Sound’s habitats as well as Quinnipiac River Watershed Association’s headquarters to canoe and investigate stream habitats. Week two concentrated on the 12 Priority Habitats of Long Island Sound. LITs picked habitats to study and reported back to the group. The week was also dedicated to local trips, visiting nearly all habitats, providing students with firsthand exploration while gaining full understanding of our waterways. Our Effect on Water was the theme for Week 3, visiting Mystic Aquarium to learn more about organisms in the Sound and then to Lighthouse Point Park to see how commercial areas affect water. The Leaders-In-Training also created their own “Water Bill of Rights” to emphasize the need for water regulations and guidelines that benefit everyone in the community. During Week 4, LITs focused on Community Service Action Projects (C-SAPs), tackling water waste at car washes. They created pamphlets about water use and conservation and facts about the Long Island sound. Others helped a Yale group with their Urban Oasis project at Barnard School. They learned more about invasive species and removed phragmites and mugwort from along the West River. To celebrate the end of the program season, LITs visited a climbing gym and went back to Light House Point Park, where students led lessons for Steward Team. members on what they had learned throughout the summer. Participants and
Because of Solar Youth… Environmental Outcomes My knowledge about the environment improved I am more responsible about the effect I have 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 • •
% YOUTH AGREED
% PARENTS AGREED
NEW – Adventure Camp Stewards Enrolled: 37 Interns Hired: 2 To reach more youth this summer, Solar Youth created the new SY Adventure Camp. It ran in three sessions by age (7-10, 11-14 and 14-17) and focused on providing outdoor recreational activities for youth, while learning about Connecticut watersheds and wildlife. Youth participated in get-to-know-you games, teambuilding, reflection and processing activities. Adventures included hiking, indoor rock climbing, biking, canoeing, fishing, trail maintenance, and camping. Students took part in field trips to Outer Island, The Mystic Aquarium and The Beardsley Zoo. Our first session campers went to Mountain Fun, a rock climbing gym. Most had never been rock climbing before and were so excited to wear their harnesses and climb to the top of several 20-foot walls. Several children were nervous, but with encouragement and reassurance they made it to the top. The session two group was smaller, making for more intimate interactions. Our most successful trip was bike riding at Savin Rock West Haven Beach. The group rode all the way down the beach from Bradley Point to Sandy Point Bird Sanctuary - 4 miles roundtrip. The third session was exclusively for teens and consisted mostly of past Solar Youth interns and participants. The high school interns modeled positive behavior to the other youth and also set higher expectations for new participants. They did team building activities, allowing them to work in groups to problem solve. Stewards also learned public speaking skills, which they modeled throughout the session. The campers’ appreciation and reflection at the end of the session was very heart-felt and well thought out. Each camper really put a lot of effort into everything they did and it really made a difference for the entire group.
“From this program I learned how to work as a team better and learned how to help people out. –Steward, age 14
“Because of Solar Youth I feel extremely comfortable with myself and I feel like I have improved myself into many ways.” –Steward, age 17
Solar Youth Summer 2015
Green Jobs Youth Development Interns Hired: 13 “[Being in Green Jobs] changed me a lot! I work better with people and am better at making new friends. My work ethic has also improved.” –Steward, age 14.
Solar Youth’s Green Jobs Youth Development program (GJYD) is an internship program for teenagers, providing youth with the skills to implement community improvement projects of their design, develop job, leadership and critical problem-solving skills, as well as the ability to communicate and work in groups effectively. One of the program’s goals is to inform interns of their options beyond high school, and empower them as positive agents of change in their communities. This year, GJYD ran from April 6 – August 13th, consisting of a spring and summer session, serving a total of 20 youth. GJYD ‘s program space was located at 61 Level Street, just below the Solar Youth office, as the majority of participants live in Westville Manor. The program embodies the Solar Youth framework of Kids Explore! Kids Do! Kids Teach! This season, emphasis was given to local and urban food systems, community gardening, mindfulness and resume development. FARM EXCHANGE @ GENTLE GIANT FARM: Over the course of the program GJYD interns visited the farm 6 times, learning the basics of vegetable farming. They participated in a work exchange, picking rocks or weeds, harvesting or packing, in exchange for fresh, organic, local vegetables. Many expressed that their time at the farm was their favorite part of the program. Youth visited the City Seed Farmers’ Market to observe how local food makes it into the mouths of residents. RAIN BARREL INSTALLATION: Save the Sound lead four workshops in which youth experienced the practical application of conservation through the installation of one rain barrel in Solar Youth’s backyard. The workshop used applied science and math formulas, as well as hand/eye coordination and manual labor. Interns were heavily involved in the downspout reconstruction, barrel modifications and installation. Interns then regularly used the rain collection to water various gardens throughout the neighborhood. BANNER DAY: Continuing the positive theme from summer 2014 youth engaged in a positive message banner creation day. Youth selected the phrases “BE THE CHANGE”, “LOVE IS THE KEY” and “FOLLOW YOUR DREAMS”. It was an incredibly powerful portion of the program and the interns’ creativity and enthusiasm shined brightly.
Employability Skills Outcomes % of GJYD Interns “After being an intern in Solar Youth…” who agreed …I feel that my timeliness has improved. 100% …my public speaking skills have improved. 67% …my personal financial management skills have improved. 78% …my work ethic has improved. 100% Long Term Outcomes “My overall experience with Solar Youth, both this season and in the past, has… …prepared me for future employment. 89% …encouraged me to continue my education. 100% …encouraged me to live a healthier lifestyle. 89% …helped me to develop a more positive sense of self. 78%
Youth Educators Interns Hired: 12 A core part of Solar Youth’s work is to create leadership opportunities for the youth we work with, as well as give youth job experience—often their very first job experience. Youth Educator Interns co-lead programs with adult staff, gaining hands-on training and serving as role models for younger Stewards. Youth Educator Interns learn skills such as preparing lessons plans, practicing compassionate communication and positive behavior management, developing skills as group facilitators, and implementing activities that involve multiple intelligences. During the season, Interns, with support from adult staff, develop and deliver lesson plans addressing a number of environmental themes. Youth Educator Interns engage in two to three weeks of training prior to the start of each season. Below are the responses to our feedback about their experience as Youth Educator during the summer of 2015.
Intern Feedback CATEGORY Youth Educator Skills Outcomes “Participation in Solar Youth…” • Prepared me to use a lesson plan to deliver lessons through experiential (handson) 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 “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. 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.
% OF INTERNS WHO AGREED
100% 100% 100% 100% 100%
100% 100% 100% 71% 100% 100%
100% 100% 83% 83% 100% 100%
Solar Youth Summer 2015
FOSY: Friends of Solar Youth Thank you to the following investors for supporting the 2015 Summer Season at Solar Youth!
Dalio Family Foundation Cedar Tree Foundation Perrin Family Foundation Community Foundation for Greater NH New Haven Public Schools City of New Haven – Youth@Work Lewis G. Schaeneman Foundation Long Island Sound Futures Fund – NFWF Housing Authority of New Haven CT State Department of Education
Summer Expenses Program Salaries+Benefits
Equip & Supplies
Other Program Expenses Admin Expenses
5,025 58,105 $259,956
And hundreds of individuals! I have been in Solar Youth since I was in the 3rd grade. I made my way through the programs until I was ready to become an intern. Currently I am [adult staff] an educator. I am most grateful for Solar Youth because it has opened up so many doors for me and has allowed me to meet so many new people and friends. Solar Youth is a program that encourages self-growth as well as growth within their programs, and they are constantly finding ways to stay connected with their youth. I have taken all of the lessons that I’ve learned in SY and applied them to my everyday life. [The] non-violent communication skills I was trained in helped me to resolve conflicts I was faced with in school -Quintaisja Harrison Summer 2015 Educator; Currently enrolled in Gateway Community College, sophomore
For information, contact: Joanne Sciulli, Founder/Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org
Solar Youth, Inc. 53 Wayfarer Street New Haven, CT 06515 203.387.4189 Solaryouth.org