■ According to studies conducted by The Partnership for 21st Century Skills, the number #1 skill deficiency of today’s young people is LEADERSHIP – “leveraging the strengths of others to achieve common goals; using interpersonal skills to coach and develop others.”
■ As The Partnership for 21st Century Skills (P21) has discovered, “there is a profound gap between the knowledge and skills most students learn in school and the knowledge and skills they need in typical 21st century communities and workplaces.” This is largely due to the high-stakes standardized testing movement that has become the basis for school curriculums across the country. As these stakes have become higher, schools have increasingly focused classroom instruction on the tests. At Camp, we aren’t teaching to a test, we teach to life, and the realities and challenges that come with it. Best educational practices today call for a fusing of the 3Rs with the 4Cs (Critical thinking and problem solving, Communication, Collaboration, and Creativity and innovation) – this is just what we do at Everwood Day Camp!
■ Given the gap between what is taught in schools and what is necessary to succeed in the 21st century, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that far too many teenagers graduate high school lacking life skills and unprepared for adulthood. There is an ever-growing body of research, conducted by youth development organizations, corporations and universities, indicating that young adults today lack career and college readiness. One particular ground breaking study, “Are They Ready to Work?”surveyed hundreds of employers and determined that “far too many young people are inadequately prepared to be successful.” For instance, the report concluded that more than 50% of high school graduates were “deficient” in skills such as oral & written communication, critical thinking and professionalism. The leadership skills that we teach and learn at Everwood, as reflected in our LEAD Approach (Learn Life Skills, Envision your Future, Accept Challenges and Do For Others) addresses these deficiencies and prepares teens to take on leadership roles at home, school, work, camp and in their communities.
■ Researchers have identified a phenomenon known as Summer Learning Loss in which children and teens experience a significant loss in skills and knowledge during summer vacation. Too many young people across the country spend their summers floundering in front of their televisions, computers and video games- when they could and should be enriching their lives and expanding their skill sets. Research conducted by the National Summer Learning Association(NSLA) has shown that “intentional summer programs, like camp, help stem summer learning loss – providing experiences that challenge children, develop talents, keep them engaged, and expand horizons.”