Thursday, June 7, 2018

Riverside among 14 schools awarded humanities grant

For the second straight year, the Vermont Humanities Council (VHC) has awarded grants to 14 schools for its summer Humanities Camps program for middle school students. Among them is Riverside Middle School in Springfield.

Generous private funding made it possible for VHC to offer 14 camps again this year, the highest number in the program’s 20-plus year history, according to a press release from VHC.

“The need and demand for these camps is enormous,” said VHC Executive Director Peter Gilbert. “Vermont ranks last in the nation for the percentage of low-income children who participate in academic and enrichment programs outside of school time. With less access to such learning opportunities, those children fall further and further behind their better-resourced peers.”

Humanities Camps are free week-long day camps that take place between June and August. Thematically based, the camps blend reading with engaging and fun learning activities both inside and outside the classroom. Open to any student who has completed grades 6-8, the camps help youth explore the world of literature and ideas, fostering self-expression in a safe, nurturing environment. One of VHC’s most popular programs year after year, Humanities Camps allow both students and teachers to create learning experiences not always possible during a regimented school day.

Other schools awarded Humanities Camps this year include Brattleboro Area Middle School, Burke Town School, Camels Hump Middle School (Richmond), Canaan Schools, Fair Haven Grade School, Grand Isle School, Hartford Memorial Middle School, Irasburg Village School, Northfield Middle High School, Richford Jr.-Sr. High School, St. Albans City School, St. Johnsbury School, and Stowe Middle School.

The camps revolve around themes chosen by VHC and selected by applicant schools. Three themes are offered in 2018: Bread and Roses, Too (focusing on VHC’s 2018 Vermont Reads book by author Katherine Paterson); Ordinary People in Extraordinary Circumstances (exploring perseverance and courage); and “Is That True?”(exploring truth versus fiction and media literacy).

Returning schools also have the option to design their own theme. Students each receive a set of books related to their camp’s theme, to read and to bring home to keep. Private funders donated more than $30,000 toward the 2018 camps, including an anonymous donor, the Vermont Children’s Trust Fund, and Weyerhaeuser Company. The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation also provides generous support of this initiative, and the Pulitzer Prizes partner with VHC, all according to the press release.

For more information about Humanities Camps, contact Ali Palmer at (802) 262-1352, or visit the Humanities Camps page at

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