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Camps make sure students aren’t mentally idle during the summer

  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/08/17/34/xZ5RH.Em.138.jpeg|312
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Scholars (L-R ) Sabrina Thao 10, Cinthia Reyes (cq), Melissa Padilla 10, take part in a pantomime acting exercise where the scholars act out without speaking the reason why he was late for work was because an elephant was baking pancakes, during the BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) summer academic camp at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday July 08,2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/08/17/34/9nia7.Em.138.jpeg|338
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Huntingtowne farms Elementary teacher Dustin Connors whispers a clue into Carina Young 10 ear, during a pantomime acting exercise at the BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) summer academic camp at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday July 08,2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/08/17/33/zYZwj.Em.138.jpeg|312
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Scholar Tiauna Wilcher 10 (left),acting as a night guard, listens to Bethany Wherry (right), a teaching artist with Children's Theatre of Charlotte during a night at the museum acting exercise , scholars posed as statues have to remain in place and when the night guard isn't looking they dance about, during BELL (Building Educated Leaders for Life) summer academic camps at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday July 08,2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/08/20/03/1jTRTM.Em.138.jpeg|312
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Students, from left, Sabrina Thao, 10, Cinthia Reyes, 10, and Melissa Padilla,10, take part in a pantomime acting exercise where they act out without speaking the reason why they were late for work was because an elephant was baking pancakes. It all happened during the BELL summer academic camp at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday, July 08,2014.
  • http://media.charlotteobserver.com/smedia/2014/07/08/20/03/1hANLX.Em.138.jpeg|312
    Robert Lahser - rlahser@charlotteobserver.com
    Tiauna Wilcher, 10, acting as a night guard, listens to Bethany Wherry, right, a teaching artist with Children's Theatre of Charlotte during a night at the museum acting exercise. Students posed as statues have to remain in place, and when the night guard isn't looking they dance about. It was all part of the BELL summer academic camps at Huntingtowne Farms Elementary School in Charlotte on Tuesday July 08,2014.

Students attending BELL summer camps spend their mornings working on reading and math, but the program includes enrichment activities such as learning drama from Children’s Theatre of Charlotte volunteers.

Building Educated Leaders for Life, a Massachusetts-based group that provides extra educational time for K-8 students across the country, is working with more than 850 Charlotte-Mecklenburg students at eight sites this summer. It’s among several efforts to make sure students aren’t mentally idle during summer vacation, leading to a loss of skills when school resumes.

Project LIFT, a public-private partnership working to boost achievement at nine west Charlotte schools, reported measurable academic benefits in students who participated in BELL camps last year. Ann Doss Helms

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