The Quad Manhattan Virtual Summer Camp took students on several exciting cross country adventures this summer, without even leaving home! New to the program in 2020, virtual field trips were created to maintain opportunities for students to practice their psychosocial skills in the community, without having to actually venture out into public.
"The team kept asking ourselves, but how do we do it virtually?" said Program Director, Bryan Campione. He added that without the usual restrictions of travel time through the city, The Quad decided to broaden it's reach, starting with the interests of the campers, then conducting nationwide searches for virtual tours.
Funky Fridays presented a special challenge, said the team, since these were the days with the most cross-content between campers and the longest periods of time that the kids typically spent off campus in NYC. Complete with special guests, special mail-home packages, and occasional parents-at-camp, Funky Fridays were reborn.
First, campers 'traveled' to the Georgia Aquarium, virtually exploring the many live web-cam exhibits available online. Then they completed sensory-driven under-the-sea-themed craft activities like at-home aquariums and fish magnets with materials sent directly to their homes in the weekly "Mystery Box!"
Next, the entire camp prepped their mouse ears for a virtual trip to Walt Disney World! The afternoon was filled with guided fun and Disney adventures and concluded with home-made Dole Whip (with the help of Quad Parents and a blender of course)!
On the third Funky Friday, Cindy Chen, an engineer from aerospace company SpaceX joined Quad kids for an intimate Q&A about what it's like to design rockets! Then, Cores 1 and 2 created replicas of the moon and completed an experiment to show how the moon got it's craters, while Core 3 built model rovers made of cardboard, rubber bands, and straws!
For the camp's final trips, each core picked their own virtual experience including visits from a paleontologist and a pilot! Core 1 students dug up some dirt with Jason Shein, of Bighorn Basin Paleontological Institute located in Red Lodge Montana. They asked questions about dinosaur remains and got a private tour of the lab, followed by an activity "dusting for dinos" where they used excavating tools to brush away dirt for a hidden fossil, just like the experts! Core 2 campers "Zoomed" in on flying skills in their interview with former Air Force Pilot and American Airlines Captain Derek Williamson.