Baltimore Nonprofit Offers Free Summer Camp With Music, Academics

BALTIMORE, MD — A nonprofit in Baltimore City is offering a tuition-free summer camp to kids whose parents have been affected by the coronavirus. To qualify, a parent has to be unemployed, have been furloughed or had a 50 percent reduction in work hours due to the pandemic.

Beyond the Natural Foundation, a nonprofit that empowers at-risk youth through music, is sponsoring the six-week camp, which is a hybrid of in-person and virtual programming.

Music producer and Beyond the Natural Foundation founder Robert Levine III will teach children the fundamentals of songwriting, beat making, music production, piano, drumming and vocal performance.

The camp will employ an online music production platform “so kids can access our music production and songwriting online and use any smart device,” Levine said. “They can have fun creating music 24/7 and collaborate with peers online and with instructors.”

In addition to music, participants will have dedicated time each day for academics.

“Campers also will get instruction in mathematics, reading comprehension and language arts to prepare them for the upcoming school year,” Levine said. The foundation partnered with Magic Minds, an organization started by teachers to provide summer instruction for students.

It’s “all about bridging that gap with kids that have lost so much formative class time,” Levine said, “to make sure that kids aren’t experiencing that summer slide.”

Other elements include birding and beekeeping. A resident bird expert will provide enrichment for kids, and children can learn about bees through the apiary at Stillmeadow Community Church, where camp is held.

There will be a “full range experience for our youth so that they can grow in a safe environment,” Levine said. “Obviously safety is paramount this summer.”

To comply with federal and state guidelines, the camp will be divided into two cohorts, with kids in one age group coming in two days per week while the other group is home. On Friday they will all meet virtually.

Protocols to ensure safety will include regular temperature checks when campers arrive and routine hand sanitizing. Campers will wear face coverings.

“A lot of parents are not aware that we are doing this and that it’s safe,” Levine said.

Beyond the Natural Foundation is able to offer the tuition-free camp thanks to a grant from the Lewis Prize for Music’s COVID 19 Community Response Fund. It is one of 32 organizations across the country that received a grant to provide programming around music to serve the needs of the community amid the coronavirus pandemic.

Beyond the Natural Foundation is still offering families the chance to register for summer camp.

The program runs from July 6 to Aug. 21 at Stillmeadow Community Fellowship, 5110 Frederick Ave.

Camp is 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday to Thursday, with after-care from 4 to 5 p.m. available for $20 per week.

Those in grades 2 to 4 will be on campus Monday and Wednesday, and students in grades 5 to 7 will be on campus Tuesday and Thursday. Campers will meet virtually from 8:30 a.m. to 12 p.m. Friday. A morning and afternoon snack will be provided, but campers will be responsible for bringing their own lunch.

For more information, contact [email protected].

This article originally appeared on the Baltimore Patch

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