Boston Globe Editorial | July 5, 2017
For Dorchester parent Roberto Cardoso, the pressure to find a summer camp for Lianna, his 8-year-old daughter and only child, never goes away. He’s already worried about what she’ll be doing in the summer of 2018.
“Every year it’s a struggle,” he said. “It’s a lot of pressure for working parents like us to try to come up with an affordable summer plan for her.”
This summer, though, they lucked out. Lianna, an incoming fourth-grader at the Roger Clap School, is attending a free, five-week summer program at the Hale Reservation in Westwood, a place her father had always wanted to send her to but was too costly for them. This year, she is one of 2,200 Boston Public School students who were selected for the “5th Quarter of Learning,” a new component of the city’s larger summer learning project that combines academics and outdoor recreational activities.
Think of it as a hybrid between traditional summer school and camp. The program is a valuable investment in Boston kids that deserves a broader base of support so that more students can participate.
“It makes the city a classroom,” said Chris Smith, executive director of Boston After School & Beyond, a nonprofit that manages and contributes funds to the new initiative. In addition to Hale Reservation, other sites include the New England Aquarium and Thompson Island. “Kids will be experiencing boating, archery, entrepreneurship programs, etc. It’s the experiential aspect of it that engages them in learning,” Smith said.