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Hi guys! My name is Hongyi Zhang and I am a rising junior. This spring has brought a lot of unexpected change for everyone. For me, this summer I was originally supposed to participate in Duke Engage in New Orleans but have now found myself hosting a virtual summer camp!

Due to the coronavirus, many parents have had to transition to working from home. Because of social distancing and shelter at home restrictions, many summer programs were canceled. As a result, parents have had to figure out how to balance working from home with keeping kids busy and engaged during the summer. Partnering with the Sun Ray Chinese School, I am designing and directing a free Zoom based summer camp for elementary and middle school age children in the Dallas/Fort Worth area!

The last 2 weeks have been a frenzy of spreading flyers for my camp on social media and contacting parents. I have been very pleasantly surprised by the overwhelmingly enthusiastic and grateful responses I have received from the parents and students. I now have over 50 students enrolled across the 6 week camp and an additional 30 students on a waiting list. This number was much greater than anything I had anticipated but I will work hard to serve these students and their families to the best of my abilities.

Monday was my first camp session and despite some initial technical difficulties, it went really well! The campers were actively engaged and seemed very interested in the material the entire time. Teaching kids about the coronavirus and setting up interactive games such as Kahoot and Pictionary was a welcomed change from the post-semester slump I’ve found myself in ever since finals ended. It was so gratifying and amazing to feel the campers return the same energy and eagerness that I have poured into this camp. I am very excited for what this summer will bring and I can’t wait to update you through this blog!