Shortly after school is out, Gilman comes alive once again with a variety of enrichment and skill-building summer programs for girls and boys in grades K-12.
Fifth grade teacher Lisa Teeling is on her way to San Francisco this week, thanks to the gratitude of a former student.
Over the summer, Gilman sixth grader Vasili A. nominated Teeling for The Johns Hopkins University Center for Talented Youth’s (CTY) Sarah D. Barder Fellowship Program, which is designed to honor and support great teachers for the work they do with talented students. CTY students in California, Maryland, and Nevada are invited to nominate outstanding teachers each year.
Vasili was new to Gilman last year and credits Teeling with helping make his transition “really easy and smooth.” His nomination letter began by saying, “I think Mrs. Teeling should win this award because she is so supportive, enthusiastic and fun that she made fifth grade an important year of learning and growing for me.” He went on to note her friendliness, flexibility, encouragement, and how she worked with him to improve his writing and organizational habits.
Vasili never told Mrs. Teeling that her name had been submitted. It was Christmas Eve when she received a letter notifying her of the nomination. “I was completely shocked,” she said. “His essay touched my heart. Vasili, and others like him, are what make teaching such a joy.”
The nominated teachers are then invited to apply to for the fellowship and up to 15 of the applicants are selected. Teeling found out in early January that she is one of just ten teachers chosen for this year’s program, which includes an all-expense-paid trip to the annual conference, held this year in San Francisco. In the years to follow, veteran teachers are invited to return to the conference, interact with new and returning fellows, and participate in a robust program of professional development centered on a theme.
Teeling says she’s looking forward to the networking aspect of the program, as well as the intense days of discussions and presentations. She is also honored by the way Vasili expressed his appreciation.
Vasili too, was pretty thrilled with the news. “I was incredibly excited, I was probably just as excited as she was,” he said. “She really deserves it. She just made fifth grade a lot of fun. I wasn’t just waiting for the bell to ring. It was a great year.”
Notably, Vasili has a successful track record with the Sarah D. Barder Fellowship. Last year, he nominated his teacher – Mrs. Emerson at Cathedral — and she was also selected for the program.
After five years in CTY, this summer will be Vasili’s final year in the program. And, yes, he plans to nominate another teacher. He’s still deciding on who it will be.
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Okay, when I say “went to,” I don’t exactly mean “graduated from”; more like “spent at least a couple of weeks on campus.” Still! As a kid, the pop singer/fan of weird outfits attended one of the Center for Talented Youth’s summer programs for smart kids, which meant she probably lived in a dorm room on the Homewood campus, ate at Levering, wandered around the sculpture garden, and wandered around Charles Village. Who knew?
Summer camp—that annual repository for poison ivy and mosquito bites, gimp friendship bracelets and macramé plant hangers, homesickness and summer love—has gone boutique. These days, kids can put a new twist on textiles at art camp, trade rock climbing for rock and rolling, and become Broadway—rather than Outward—bound. And for kids who couldn’t get enough of school, there’s an academic camp just like it.
Does your daughter recite lines from movies she’s seen only once? Does your son still like to play dress up? Gloria Krutul has a camp for that. The piano teacher and choir director runs Three-Ring Theater, a year-round musical acting camp and after-school program. Summer sessions for kids age five through teen are two-to-three weeks long. With the help of experienced student assistants, Gloria teaches campers to sing, dance, and act—all toward the goal of performing in an end-of-season musical.
Cassidy Vogel has been a student director for three years, but she was an eight-year-old camper when she first joined Three-Ring seven years ago. What she likes best is how it creates independence. “We learn to do all the things on our own; there’s not a bunch of adults doing it for us. We learn the tech stuff, costuming, sound—everything.” And all campers participate as much as they want. There’s even a little theater for kids 5-8. ($690, Little Theater—$325)
The Spotlighters Theatre runs the Young Actors Academy, with a five-week day camp for middle to high-school students and a three-week program for younger kids. The older kids enjoy courses in stage combat, makeup design, and improvisation, while young students study what the Academy calls “FUN-damentals.” These programs are Monday through Thursday; on Friday, a local theater pro teaches master classes. (Middle & High School—$575; Little School—$375; three Fridays—$35)
And don’t forget local colleges, which often feature interesting outlets to occupy your kids’ days. CCBC gives kids 8-13 lessons in all things theater—singing, dancing, makeup, costuming, and critiquing. Plus, if your child has ever threatened to run away and join the circus, you can make her trek more likely to succeed with one-week circus camps that teach the fine art of clowning around. (Three Weeks—$629; Four Weeks—$786; Circus—$259)
Ahoy, matey! If your kids can’t get enough of the water, whet their appetite for adventure on the not-too-high seas of the Chesapeake Bay at sailing camp. During one of the week-long Downtown Sailing Center day-camp sessions, children learn techniques on both wet and dry land that will nurture love and respect for the water and its crafts, while encouraging safety above all else–which feels especially important, in light of the recent tragic death of the Annapolis sailing student. At the end of each session, campers test their skills in two-seater dinghies. For a more extensive ride, kids can live on a sailboat with a Coastguard captain for a week, while learning the ropes—from steering to anchoring and everything in between. (Day Camp-$400; Overnight—$950)
KidShip Sailing School, part of the Annapolis Sailing School, also makes sailors of 5-to-15-year-old campers. (About $495/week)
Brainiac kids—those who score above the mean on your SAT or ACT tests (and don’t have to look up the alternate definition of “mean”)—can join their bookish buddies at the Johns Hopkins CTY camps.
CTY camp is like regular school, it’s also a lot like college. Mia J. Merrill, a junior at Park starting her fifth season, appreciates the imaginative course variety. “Instead of just English or just biology, you can take Utopias and Dystopias (a lit course),” Mia says, or you can take Neuroscience. What Mia likes best about CTY camp are the far-out courses and comforting/quirky traditions. For instance, near the end of every dance, “Stairway to Heaven” streams, and “American Pie” is always the final song. “During ‘American Pie,’ everybody holds hands in a huge circle in the beginning, but then we all run into the center. Everybody knows all the words, plus we have callbacks and gestures.” One of the few things she hates about CTY is that cell phones are off limits everywhere but the dorms. Hey, they may be your brain surgeons tomorrow, but they’re still your teenagers today. (Prices vary; inquire via the website.)
If you’ve caught your kids playing air guitar or singing into the hairbrush at least as many times as they’ve caught you, forget the camps with rocks and find a camp that rocks. At DayJams, kids and young adults 8-25 take instrument lessons (guitar, bass, drums, vocals, keys, and horns), write songs, design logos and posters, and go to band practice. Guitar hero and shredmaster Tobias Hurwitz founded the camp more than a dozen years ago. (One Week—$600; Two Weeks—$1,140) Likewise, School of Rock, with sessions in Baltimore and Annapolis, has similarly structured camps, though each is focused on a particular band or, for the more experienced musicians, the crafts of songwriting and recording. (Music—$495; Recording or Songwriting—$795)
Music camp isn’t limited to rock. Check out other note-worthy programs, such as the Drumset and Percussion Camp at Goucher College, Bethesda’s Bach to Rock, the Baltimore String Orchestra Camp at Garrison Forest School, and music camps at McDaniel College in Westminster.
You may have enough friendship bracelets, but you can never have too many magic lanterns. Visionary Art Museum’s summer camp can light up summer days and nights, with week-long workshops in Magic Lantern making, screenprinting, and stop-motion animation. (Call for pricing: 244-1900 x232) And if those courses don’t float your kids’ kinetic sculpture boats, enroll them in the Young People’s Studios Summer Art Camp at MICA. First through twelfth graders can choose from courses like “Lines, Dashes, Dots! (Grades 1-3), “Kinetic Art: Kites, Mobiles, and More (Grades 3-5),” and “’Scapes’ from Observation and Imagination (Grades 6-8).” High school kids can take courses designed to help them prepare their portfolios. (About $290-$320 per course.) For more artsy craftsy summer sessions, check out the Walters Art Gallery and the BMA, as well as other local museums and universities.