connect camp

Saumya Goyal, Indian American co-founder of Connect-in-Place, which aims to help middle and high school students combat summer boredom, isolation, and brain drain due to the Covid-19 pandemic. (Facebook photo/Connect-in-Place)

Saumya Goyal, an Indian American student at UC Berkeley, along with fellow student Danielle Egan recently founded and launched a free virtual summer camp, called Connect-In-Place, to help mitigate the harmful psychological effects of the pandemic on middle and high school students.

A recent New York Times article highlighted the negative effects of the pandemic on the mental and physical health of kids: Kids at home are suffering from higher

levels of stress and boredom due to a lack of structure in their routines, according to a press release emailed to India-West.. This can cause a lot of emotional drain in their bodies, causing emotional eating or other effects.

According to the American Camp Association, over 14 million individuals attend some type of camp every year. An American Camp Association article emphasized the benefits of summer camps, highlighting that camps are an essential creative and social outlet for kids who may not experience this type of community environment at their regular schools.

With Covid-19, however, existing camps are trying their best to squeeze their existing programming into a new virtual format, but often, it simply doesn’t fit.

Connect-in-Place is a free virtual summer camp, built and launched for these unique times. CIP offers more than 60 classes taught by students from UC Berkeley and other colleges, ranging from “Neuroscience 101” to “Data Science in Sports” to “Hip-Hop Dance: Intro to Culture and Movement.” In addition to these academic enrichment programs, Connect-In-Place also offers program-wide activities including career panels, art contests, talent shows, movie nights, among others.

Connect-in-Place, said the release, wants to help students during this time by:

● Providing diverse classes to meet the passions and interests of students everywhere

● Creating an inclusive and safe environment by organizing support groups to help students cope with the negative emotional and mental impacts from Covid-19

● Fostering friendships between students by making these classes engaging, interactive, and small (capped at 10 kids)

● Planning program-wide activities to create a fun and social community, as they would experience at in-person camps

● Raising money to provide low-income students with laptops, hotspots, and other digital infrastructure, funded through a $10/week suggested donation and sponsorships.

For more information and to sign up for the camp, visit connectinplace.org.

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