Super Kids Camps Combine Literacy with Outings

by Jen Zacher

Emilynn Jones, 23, of Davenport, Iowa, has been working as a Super Kids Camp counselor in Baltimore City this summer. Here, she escorts kids into a classroom at the Baltimore School for the Arts. Other counselors included Bonnie Blitch, 18, of Burke, VA; Kurt Rodibaugh, 19, of Littleton, CO, and Sean Jaster, 23, of Denver, CO.

Baltimore, M.D.--Yellow school buses lurch into the church parking lot at 8:45 a.m. and about 30 kids stumble out, chatting, rapping, slapping hands to songs about boyfriends, laughing.

"Hi, Mr. Kurt," shouts a skinny girl, sucking her thumb and scratching her knee.

A pudgy boy with cornrows asks, "Are we going to the science center again today?"

A tall, light-skinned girl asks, "Miss Jessie, what are we reading? Can we read Harry Potter?"

Mr. Kurt lines up the bouncy kids as best he can and leads them inside for breakfast before the busy day begins.

Kurt Rodibaugh, 19, of Littleton, Colorado, is an AmeriCorps volunteer. He and 10 other young people work as a team in the National Civilian Community Corps (N-Triple-C), based out of Perry Point, MD, about 45 minutes north of their work site in downtown Baltimore.

Rodibaugh and his team are currently volunteering with Super Kids Camp, a reading day camp for 3rd- and 4th-graders in Baltimore. In the morning, the NCCC volunteers teach or assist other counselors teaching reading lessons, and after lunch, the volunteers chaperone enrichment experiences.

Super Kids Camp is located at several sites throughout downtown Baltimore and each has a unique enrichment emphasis. Some sites focus on experiential education through field trips to the Baltimore Zoo, the Maryland Science Center and Port Discovery, while other sites offer classes in drama, dance and art.

The Super Kids Camp serves roughly 1,500 students who have been identified by the Baltimore City Public School System as reading below their grade level. The program is designed to be an opportunity for kids to stimulate their minds and continue learning during the summer months, giving them an edge during the coming school year.

NCCC is a team-based, community service program for 18- to 24-year-olds. There are five campuses throughout the U.S., each serving a region of several states. Volunteers work on projects focusing on public safety, the environment, education and unmet human needs.

Ms. Zacher, 23, one of the Super Kids Camp counselors, hails from St. Louis, MO.

To learn more about volunteering for NCCC, call 1-800-833-3722 or visit

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This story was published on August 7, 2002.