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During the first eight days of working at Families Moving Forward, our task was to create a schedule for the summer camp. This included using existing templates to structure the days, creating games for the campers to play, and scheduling field trips and lunches with various restaurants, businesses, and non-profits.

  • To secure lunches for each day of camp, we emailed and called businesses that had donated lunches to Families Moving Forward during the summer camp last year.
  • When calling or emailing a restaurant did not allow us to contact the person responsible for charitable giving, we visited the restaurant in person and delivered letters detailing the purpose of the camp as well as the reasons why we were requesting a lunch donation.
  • To schedule the field trips, we also called and visited locations that had hosted the campers in the past. We were able to schedule most of the field trips at both old and new locations by calling and emailing the businesses or non-profits we thought the campers would be interested in visiting. For the one location we had to visit to schedule the field trip, we followed the same procedure that we used at the restaurants except that the format for the letter was different.
  • To create the lesson plan, we built on the existing template and brainstormed other interesting topics that could be relevant to the children in the future.

Initially, the goal was to include as many topics on financial literacy that we could. With that goal in mind, I wanted to teach the children about credit cards, interest rates, and money market accounts in addition to basic budgeting skills, inflation, delaying gratification techniques, setting goals, etc. We already knew that when dealing with children some deviation from the daily outline should be expected, but we did not anticipate having to make so many changes within the first week.

For various reasons we did not have the full number of campers attend the first week of camp. Because of this, we had to reschedule our car wash to a later date. Additionally, because the camp began the Monday following the children’s last day of school, the children quickly informed us that even though we tried to make learning concepts about financial topics fun and engaging, sitting in a classroom setting was not what they envisioned summer camp to be. Finally, the most challenging part of running the summer camp is trying to enforce the community standards of proper treatment of fellow campers. Being flexible about the schedule, having reasonable expectations for the campers, and working alongside wonderful staff members has made it much easier to make changes and move forward when things didn’t go as planned.