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Gompers junior to head Morry’s Academic Olympics

Once a week during the summer, a sea of flags from Switzerland, Brazil, Mexico and many other countries can be seen across Morry’s Camp.  Each country’s team comes decked out in their national colors in preparation to compete in the educational, weekly, camp-wide Academic Olympics.  Morry’s Camp, a residential summer camp with an educational focus, located in Glen Spey, NY, is the anchor of Project Morry, a nonprofit year-round youth development organization.  Each summer for four weeks, youngsters from the Bronx spend their time in the country while honing their academic skills in preparation for the next school year.

Tyrell, 17, a junior at Samuel Gompers Vocational Technical High School, has spent the last eight years participating in Project Morry and is looking forward to helping new campers make their own memories at Morry’s Camp. Last year Tyrell and his fellow veteran campers were in charge of facilitating the weekly Academic Olympic events. “This past summer, I ran Academic Olympics with my other friends.  We organized all the games, which are traditional camp games with an educational twist,” says Tyrell.

Academic Olympics divides younger campers into teams, each representing a different country, as they compete against each other in math, science and cooperative challenges.  The educational focus of Morry’s Camp activities sets it apart from other traditional summer camps. In 2007, Morry’s Camp received the Excellence in Summer Learning Award from the Center for Summer Learning at John Hopkins University’s School of Education.  According to the Summer Learning Bulletin, “The Award recognizes summer programs that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting positive development for young people.  High-quality programs work to support the development of the whole child—intellectually, socially, physically and emotionally—so that he or she is prepared to return to school in the fall and for a lifetime of success.”

 “Through Academic Olympics, our campers learn and practice their skills during the summer in both an educational and fun environment,” says Dawn Ewing, dxecutive director of Project Morry.  “Summer learning is essential to children and young adults in order to help them advance during the school year.  When school closes, many students lose the equivalent of up to two months of reading and mathematical achievement without access to educational opportunities.  With Academic Olympics, we work with campers to try to close this gap, while building sportsmanship, confidence and teamwork.”

Academic Olympics provides boys and girls the opportunity to seize the moment and shine as leaders, while community and team relationships are built between staff members and campers of all ages.  “Academic Olympics is fun and a team oriented event.  Last summer, I was part of the Swiss team. Project Morry has really affected the way I treat people. When you are in the woods with the same people for a month, you will become a community.  You learn to treat people with respect, and you learn how to respect their opinions, even if they differ from your own,” says Tyrell.

Project Morry is a nonprofit, year-round youth development organization, anchored by a residential summer camp with an educational focus.  The organization is dedicated to giving inner-city children enriching learning opportunities through a curriculum based on school gatherings and an intensive summer camp program.  The children, for whom these experiences would not otherwise be available, benefit from a network of support and gain increased social skills, enhanced self-esteem, positive core values and a greater sense of personal responsibility.  Project Morry is named in honor of Morry Stein, whose life was dedicated to the enrichment of children’s lives through the residential camp experience.  For more information, log on to www.projectmorry.org.

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