As we round the corner to summer and most young people are eagerly anticipating the warm, unstructured months out of school, we’re reminded that summer has not always signaled fun for the youth that Side by Side serves.
We know the combination of sunshine, nature, physical challenges, and new experiences to be therapeutic and potentially life changing for young people, and we make sure to weave these elements through all of Side by Side's summer programming.
- The Irene M. Hunt School offers an array of specialty camps for students over the summer – from Performing Arts to Film Production to Humanitarian Camp – with a ton of field trips and excursions built in, as well as swimming in the campus pool. In addition to fun, the camps provide an opportunity to address year-round the behavioral and emotional challenges Hunt students experience.
- TAY Space incorporates a whole calendar full of activities and day trips for our transitional age youth who struggle with mental, behavioral, and/or emotional disorders. TAY Space summer highlights include a full moon hike in Muir Woods, art museum tours, and a visit to a recording studio, where the talented young people can lay down their own original music tracks.
- Foster youth and those on probation in the Real Alternatives transitional housing program embark on a river rafting trip every summer, providing the young people with a much-needed reprieve from their jobs, schooling, and efforts to secure long-term housing.
- River rafting and other summer trips are a culminating, hard-earned reward for the middle and high school students in YouThrive. Students are referred to YouThrive because they’re in a downward spiral of academic failure, anti-social behavior, criminal activity, or drug and alcohol use. With measured improvements in these areas, young people can earn their way to an end-of-semester, three-day outdoor adventure that reinforces the collaboration, leadership, and communication skills they've learned in the program. For most YouThrive youth, it’s the first time they’ve experienced the outdoors and connected with nature.
These critical experiences provide our young people with the self esteem, connection, and sense of accomplishment that leads to positive choices and productive lives.