Fresno Unified’s Summer Camps Are the Nation’s ‘Gold Standard’ - GV Wire - Explore. Explain. Expose
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Fresno Unified’s Summer Camps Are the Nation’s ‘Gold Standard’

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Take Flight To Your Future Camp was one of 68 summer camps offered by Fresno Unified this summer. (Fresno Unified School District)
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When Fresno Unified students returned to their classrooms Monday morning, many of them had exciting stories about “what I did on my summer vacation.”

The district’s summer camps program drew 7,708 students to programs such as My Little Piñatas, Water Polo Camp, Digital Creator Studio, and eSports.

The district’s summer camps program drew 7,708 students to programs such as My Little Piñatas, Water Polo Camp, Digital Creator Studio, and eSports. More than half of them signed up for multiple camps, which meant that this year 96% of all available summer camp slots were filled, the district told GV Wire.

The summer camps, which cost an estimated $5 million and included materials, supplies, and contracts with community-based partners, were covered by the California Department of Education’s Expanding Learning Opportunities Program.

Superintendent Bob Nelson told trustees last week that he had met with Michael Funk, director of the state’s expanded learning Division, who told him that Fresno Unified “represents the gold standard nationally for both afterschool and summer school use of extended learning funding.”

Twice as Many Camps

The district more than doubled the number of summer camp offerings from 2022, when there were 30, to 68 this summer. The new camps included Bowling, Dive Into Space, I Lava Hawai’i Hula Dance, Junior Chef Academy, Fresno City College RAM Camps, STEM Exploration, and Teocalli Cultural Academy.

The funding benefits Fresno kids and boosts local nonprofits that the district contracts with to provide summer camp and after-school programs, Nelson said.

“That type of funding allows us to bankroll really good nonprofits in the community of Fresno as well,” he said last week. “So keeping the right people who we want around our kids afloat here locally in the Valley, that is a very good use of the taxpayer dollar (while])providing meaningful, worthwhile activities for kids.”

2023 Summer Camp Slideshow

(Fresno Unified photos)

Nancy Price is a multimedia journalist for GV Wire. A longtime reporter and editor who has worked for newspapers in California, Florida, Alaska, Illinois and Kansas, Nancy joined GV Wire in July 2019. She previously worked as an assistant metro editor for 13 years at The Fresno Bee. Nancy earned her bachelor's and master's degrees in journalism at Northwestern University's Medill School of Journalism. Her hobbies include singing with the Fresno Master Chorale and volunteering with Fresno Filmworks. You can reach Nancy at 559-492-4087 or Send an Email