Adapt & Evolve: The Story of Wings’ Virtual April Vacation Camp

By Maria Stewart, Co-Director of the Wings Community Programs

Wings Community Programs is launching the April Blast Virtual Program Camp for students grades K-12 during school vacation next week, April 20-24. We have an incredible group of talented, innovative, creative, and extraordinary program leaders who have truly taken the idea of virtual programming to new heights!

We are so thrilled to be offering up to 11 live programs per day every day next week. The virtual camp will feature a blend of synchronous programs, through Google Meet, and asynchronous programs, using program leader’s pre-recorded videos and Flipgrid. Some of our program offerings will include: dance, yoga, mindfulness, travel the world, cultural awareness & empathy, creative writing, juggling, lego club, drawing, virtual flash mob, and more.

In the meantime, our Wings staff has been working on some ongoing outreach projects for our youth and communities. For example, this week the Wings staff has pulled together in working on Project We Miss You. We created a culminating video to express how much we truly miss our youth which we will be sending home via school newsletters, as well as posting on our Wing Community Programs Facebook page and website.

Additionally, two of our dedicated staff members, Shelley Park and Jen Nilsen, are currently working on Project Warm and Fuzzy, which is an outreach project designed specifically for our high school seniors at Twin Valley Middle High School. Understanding how difficult this time is socially and emotionally, especially for our seniors, Shelley and Jen have developed this project to ensure each of our seniors is valued, recognized, and celebrated.

Another ongoing project is the Wings Birthday Outreach with efforts led by Lauren Sumner and Tucker Boyd. Lauren and Tucker are sending birthday cards to students who have birthdays during the school closure period. We understand how disappointing this time is for students who won’t be able to celebrate their birthdays with friends and family due to social distancing measures, and we hope these cards will bring a smile to the faces of our youth!

Lastly, Wings has worked diligently to support families, students, and teachers with their remote learning. Over the past few weeks, we have been working on developing systems of support to ensure our families are getting the support they need as they navigate remote learning. While we don’t have these systems in place yet, some of our ideas include providing a virtual “homework club” and setting families up with a “coach.”  This coach would serve as the family’s “go-to” person should they have any questions or specific needs related to remote learning. The challenge has been finding the balance between offering supports and resources for our youth and families, while trying to not overwhelm them. 

Maria Stewart and Katie Boyd are the current directors of Wings Community Programs which has provided afterschool and summer programming for youth in grades K-12 in Halifax, Readsboro, Whitingham and Wilmington, VT since 2001.