Explore Your Environment (EYE) Summer Program
Our biggest and most popular program runs daily in one-week sessions every summer. Bicycle all around the south end peninsula, stopping to visit and explore many exciting sites including Fort Taber, Hazelwood Park,and Palmer’s Island. Swim, snorkel, play tennis and basketball and have fantastic experiences visiting regional working farms as special guests of local farm families.
The E.Y.E. program operates 5 days/week & provides every participant with a minimum of 16 hours of direct instruction & mentoring. The Program is designed with a maximum student – to – teacher ratio of 3:1. Every weekday throughout the summer, 12 students (ages 9-16) arrive @ The Victory Park Warming House and meet as a group with the teaching staff to plan the day’s itinerary. The students have critical input toward planning their day and must consider factors such as weather conditions and riding ability amongst their peer group. On a typical day, students & teachers depart The Warming House by bicycle and head to various destinations on the South End peninsula. Among the many venues for daily visits:
- Hazelwood Park: where the students play basketball, receive tennis instruction, and learn a new game; bowling-on-the-green (all of which are hugely popular activities with all the students, regardless of age, ability or socio-economical status)
- Fort Taber Park –for exploration of the historic batteries, visiting the Military History Museum and searching for sea glass
- East & West beaches: for direct instruction in swimming & snorkeling (under the careful supervision of certified lifeguards). Students also use nets to gather marine specimens for their own saltwater aquarium (with instruction & oversight provided by our partners at S.M.A.S.T.). An exciting game of beach volleyball on East Beach is also often on the daily itinerary
- The Victory Park Children’s Garden, which was created during the 2012 EYE Program, has quickly become a favorite daily destination. The students plant, water, and weed the crops, and then enjoy the harvest each day as part of a healthy and nutritious lunch (cucumbers, tomatoes, and basil are among the most popular garden produce).
In addition, on a weekly basis, students visit venues outside the City including:
- Local farms (hosted by generous & hospitable farm families) where they learn about agriculture, livestock, food chains & sustainability
- Local rivers & waterways; exploration, discovery & adventure by kayak (a first time experience for most New Bedford students) with a curriculum based on coastal ecology
While at base camp & during transit to the various destinations, every opportunity is captured for “learning in context” by responding to the students’ natural curiosity & inquisitiveness (e.g., when students ask why they are not allowed to swim in the pond @ Victory Park, the teachers build a lesson around the science of water quality by using a ph meter to explain water chemistry & the importance of environmental stewardship).
The Y.O.U. teaching staff is comprised of local public school teachers & paraprofessionals, along with high school & college students. Other staff members teach high school social studies and middle school math. The entire EYE team is carefully trained in Y.O.U. safety protocols & all hold current CPR & First Aid certifications. Most importantly, all of them draw upon their teaching experience to ensure a truly successful learning outcome for all EYE participants.