Spells's summer camp is unlike any other in the city: It is both fun and educational; physically adventurous and intellectually stimulating; wacky and productive. Just take a gander at the description of one week, themed “Out Of This World”:
Welcome, aspiring astronauts! For one week, Spells will become Dr. Spells’ Space Camp, as we perform NASA-inspired experiments to expand our understanding of the great beyond! From stars to Mars, and all the black holes and meteors in between, we’ll combine that real space knowledge with our imaginations as we trek across the universe, creating strange new worlds and alien lifeforms and writing science fiction. So grab your pencils and buckle into our spacecraft, the Spells Sputnik 500, as we shoot out to the Milky Way!
Each week has a different theme, selected to allow for different types of writing, and to incorporate other disciplines, like science, technology, filmmaking, design, storytelling (and sometimes even cooking). Each theme involves kids in different activities, from field trips to local restaurants, so kids can write food reviews; to video game design instruction; to spy adventures in and around the Lab, at the Village of Arts and Humanities. And every week ends with a finished product--a book of wacky space tales, an animated film, a comic book written and designed by the campers. This gives kids a proud piece of work to take home, and offers a reminder of what they’ve learned. Counselors hail from professional writers, filmmakers, musicians and designers, who pepper the camp adventures with real-life stories of their adventures in creativity.
About 90 percent of Spells campers are economically disadvantaged, hailing from the neighborhood around Spells, in North Philadelphia. They attend schools that struggle with the basics, and have no time to teach writing, which has been found to be an integral part of academic success.
Videos from 2013 camp: https://www.youtube.com/user/SpellsWritingLab
Funded by Philadelphia, PA (March 2014)