We recently hosted a Hey Banyan! event designed to share insights on the value of summer programming for youth. Summer programs are a key component to ensuring youth are ready to return to school each fall full of new experiences and learnings and be active classroom participants. The event allowed attendees the opportunity to explore the issues and research more deeply.

The panel included Kari Denissen Cunnien (Executive Director of Ignite Afterschool), Allison Burns (Banyan’s Elementary Program Manager), and Diamond Jackson (Banyan Alum and Secondary Educator). Each panelist shared their expertise and experiences around building engaging summer experiences for youth.

We learned that the social and emotional learning components are key, particularly now as we are facing the social ramifications of Covid-19. Followed closely by the need to make summer learning fun! Banyan does both – our hands-on and experiential learning opportunities have included building robots, writing and performing plays, exploring water parks, and camp. The long-term relationships youth have with staff and each other make Banyan a safe place and allow youth to build confidence and self-esteem as we navigate interacting in the larger world again.

Stay tuned for updates on the details from Cool Off Days at Banyan!