Discovering Talent: BELL at YMCA of Honolulu, HI
"Camp's Got Talent" was the theme of Power Scholars Academy at YMCA of Honolulu powered by BELL. Throughout the program held at Central Middle School, 83 scholars going into grades 6-8 were encouraged to discover their talents and to "Be Extraordinary." Scholar momentum didn’t end with the summer. Central Middle School contracted BELL to offer afterschool programs in the fall.
During the summer, themes relating to skills-development and college preparation were woven into both the academic and enrichment program.
During community time, scholars took virtual online tours of colleges they were interested in. Enrichment courses in storytelling through media, street art, swimming, cooking, physical education, aikido, and basketball were designed to foster critical 21st century skills like teamwork and leadership, to increase self-confidence, and to expose scholars to new subjects, opportunities, and career paths. Scholars had frequent opportunities to explore the great outdoors and learn about Hawaiian culture. Field trip destinations included Ulupo Heiau Lo'I, Honolulu Community College, YMCA Camp Erdman, Ice Palace Skating Rink, Sherwoods Beach, and Fort Shafter Bowling.
The program had a major impact on the scholars, who were chosen based on academic and economic need. Evaluation results show scholars gained two months in literacy skills and three months in math skills. According to evaluation surveys, 100 percent of teachers reported an increase in scholars' self-confidence. "Incorporating Growth Mindset was a key component," says one Power Scholars educator. "Scholars taught themselves to pick themselves up, find solutions, and seek help from their peers. I saw their confidence grow as much as their skills in math." Ninety-three percent of parents reported their children having a better ability to overcome challenges.
Power Scholars Academy at YMCA of Honolulu enjoyed great community support. Harris United Methodist Church hosted the end of the program summer celebration. St. Peter's Episcopal Church provided volunteers to serve lunch. Nu'uanu Y's Men and Women Service Club provided snacks for scholars. The YMCA of Honolulu also participated in the USDA and Wellhart Foundation Summer Feeding Program, which provided breakfasts and lunches.