DEARBORN — Just because it’s summer doesn’t mean Dearborn children have an excuse to play Fortnite all day.
According to a Johns Hopkins study from 2010, most students lose two months of grade level equivalency in math skills over the summer. Low-income students lose the same amount of reading achievement, while children make slight reading gains.
That’s around the city, there are a wealth of opportunities for children to stay engaged while the mercury rises. There’s more to do than just go to the pool, tool. Whether you’re looking for STEM opportunities, sports lessons, and leagues, or exposure to the arts, there’s no shortage of things for children to do in Dearborn.
Take Dearborn Public Schools’ Summer Adventure Camp, for instance. It’s open to ages 3 to 12, and this year offers them the chance to travel the world without leaving the Snow School cafeteria at 2000 Culver St. Children will experience cultures around the globe via food, art, dance, literature, and sports. Each “tour” lasts three days (Wednesday to Friday) and explores places like Brazil, Chine, Italy and India. Summer Adventure Camp runs through Aug. 16.
The registration deadline has passed for many of the paid programs, but there are still chances to make sure your children don’t fall behind this summer. Individual schools are offering programs focused on reading and writing, integrated STEM subjects, and math.
“Those are open throughout the summer and we encourage students to participate” if parents didn’t register for other programs, Dearborn Public Schools Communications Director David Mustonen says. “Out of the 30-odd schools, you’re going to find some type of activity going on.”
Of course, that includes summer reading programs. Specifically, Fordson Feeder Elementary Schools offers a weekly traveling story time through Aug.13. Each Wednesday morning session includes a story, an activity, and for children in kindergarten through fifth grade to bring home a new book.
Dearborn Public LIbrary’s summer reading program has a new technological twist this year; using an app or the library website to track time spent reading. This year’s theme is “Universe of Stories” and, as you might imagine, is themed around celestial bodies and outer space.
In addition to family storytimes, there are weekly arts and crafts activities like making sun catchers, tin foil moons, and even the three-eyed aliens from the “Toy Story” movies. On July 23, there’s a connected show at Henry Ford College’s Hammond Planetarium, 5101 Evergreen Road, with the program wrapping up July 27.
For adolescents interested in the arts, the city of Dearborn has a number of things to offer. There are two youth theater programs this summer, both directed by Rashid Baydoun. For 5- to 12-year-olds, there’s Aladdin, KIDS, a “hands-on introduction” to the world of theater according to the parks and rec department. The four-day program culminates with a full-scale production of Disney’s classic tale at the Michel A. Guido Theater in the Ford Community & Performing Arts Center, 15801 Michigan Ave., on Aug. 10.
For older children, there’s a production of “Shrek: The Musical.” This program lasts four weeks which started June 24 and runs through July 25. The cast and crew of 11 to 18 year-olds will sing, dance and act their way through a trio of performances at the Guido Theater starting July 26.
The Recreation & Parks Department also teamed with the Arab American National Museum for the SURA Photography Program Summer Camp. “Sura” is the Arabic word for photograph, and as such, the program teaches children ages 10 to 16 the basics of photography with digital cameras and smartphones. That entails everything from image composition, lighting, storytelling, and social media sharing.
Campers will also have written and photographic assignments in addition to daily field trips around metro Detroit. This year’s children will have their work featured at the SURA Arts Academy student exhibition this fall. The program runs from July 29 through Aug. 2, and seats were still available as of press time.
Among the city’s more popular youth programs is Summer at the Center, according to chief information officer Mary Laundroche. It’s geared toward children ages 5 to 11 and runs from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday for eight sessions — perfect for busy parents. Additional childcare is available in half-hour increments.
The camps are held at the Ford Center and include activities like rock climbing, games, and arts and crafts. Each week carries a different theme, with sessions like “Food Frenzy,” “Wet and Wild,” and “Camp’s Got Talent” on the schedule. Sessions run through Aug. 9.
There’s also a raft of sports opportunities available, covering everything from football to ice skating lessons, track club, and a specialized youth tennis program. The latter is called “Quick Start” and uses smaller balls, courts, and simplified scoring to ease younger novices into the game.
There are other tennis programs available as well for a variety of ages and skill levels. Four two-week sessions meet Monday through Thursday starting July 1 and wrapping up Aug. 8.
The summer youth golf program at Robert Herndon Dearborn Hills Golf Course has been going for some 27 years, but the past two have been the most popular with each selling out. So much so that the course is toying with the idea of adding additional sessions to its sold-out summer “Drivers” and “Putters” programs, and one this fall. This summer the program has between 60 and 70 children ages 7 through 17 enrolled.
What started as more play than instruction is now the opposite. Dearborn Hills General Manager Chip Hierlihy oversees the program and says that the reason he changed it up was that he thought it was unfair to send new players out on the course before they knew the basics.
“There was a little resistance the first year; if you’re a kid and you play golf, you wanna play,” he says. “But we can definitely make them enjoy playing much better if we get the chance to take them through the fundamentals.”
The programs include clinics and several holes of play, and the “Drivers” program for 12- to 17-year-olds ends with a competitive tournament. Both the “Putters” program for 7- to 11-year-olds and “Drivers” conclude Aug. 6.
(This story was reprinted from Metromode Media. It also is available at: www.secondwavemedia.com/metromode/features/dearborn-summer-activities-june-2019.aspx.)