16 BIPOC-owned summer programs for kids of all ages
They'll learn valuable skills while making a difference.
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Across the country, parents are navigating the gradual re-opening of camps and enrichment programs in what we all hope is a post-COVID reality. However, the ever-evolving changes in rules around gathering sizes, mask-wearing, and how things function mean that it is harder than ever to figure out what your kids could be doing this summer.
If you're looking for both unique summer programs as well as a way to make a positive social impact, choose a summer camp that's BIPOC-founded. Exposing kids to the viewpoints, efforts, and work of people of diverse backgrounds could spark a career or life-long interest that brings your child success and joy.
We've found 16 summer programs that are all run by people of color, and many are also women-owned. The first set is virtual, the second set offers in-person and virtual programming, and the final set is in-person only.
1. The Adroit Journal Mentorship
Grades: 9-12 (including graduating seniors)
This mentorship program pairs experienced writers with aspiring writers who are in high school. This year they’re focused on poetry, fiction, and non-fiction. The program is not a set curriculum or course; instead, the mentees have the opportunity to workshop their work with peers and mentors throughout the program, with a focus on learning about both the writing and editing process.
While the program is full for this year, parents of aspiring writers should keep this program in mind for future years.
2. OverAchiever S.T.E.A.M. Academy
Cost: $100-$210 per week tuition, plus varying materials fees
This summer, OverAchiever is offering five different virtual, one-week camps. They each run about 1.5 hours per day and are focused on different age groups. The goal of the company is to provide enrichment activities in science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics (STEAM), and the goal is to help students compete with 21st century skills. This summer they are offering:
- Super Slime Camp for grades K-8; learn how to make many different types of slime
- Lego camp for grades K-8; learn how to use Legos to create inventions, games, stories and art
- Camp Dream in STEAM for grades K-8; explore STEAM skills while completing hands-on challenges and experiments like extracting the DNA from fruit
- Mathemagic for grades 4-8; learn about magic and math while improving focus and ability to solve complex math problems in your head
- Brain Boot Camp for grades 6-12; learn study, organization, time management and test taking skills that boost self-confidence.
In addition to these themed week options, the company also offers one-one-one summer tutoring.
3. Dash Camp
Ages: 6 to 12
Cost: $99 per week
With two Black co-founders and an incredibly diverse staff of teachers, Dash Camp is the virtual day camp that has it all. Campers get live, virtual 25-minute classes for two hours each day, and there are a wide range of subjects for kids to choose from. Kids will be engaged, laughing, learning, and moving all summer long, and you can even take advantage of their free one-day trial.
4. Demetrius Academic Services
Ages: Grades 5-12 (including graduating seniors)
Cost: $99+ per week
A bespoke, Black-owned academic services company, they provide personalized summer test prep & academic tutoring for GPA improvement, study skills, and skill gap elimination. Four-, six-, and eight-week virtual programs are available and consist of weekly meetings and independent assignments delivered by a Yale graduate designed to assist your learner in reaching your desired outcomes and boost confidence.
To design your perfect program, email: WinsomeDemetrius@gmail.com
5. Girls’ Writing Workshops by Dr. Han
Ages: Grades 9-12
Virtual creative writing workshops that run for five weeks, the classes combine both critical reading, literature comprehension, and creative writing. One workshop is for girls in grades 9 and 10 and explores a re-imagined Romeo and Juliet for contemporary times. The other workshop is for girls in grades 11 and 12 and covers fiction, creative nonfiction, and poetry, building off of a multitude of genres and readings. Discounts are available for Hawaii residents.
6. Writing for Social Change
This series of eight virtual creative writing workshops is run by a licensed social worker trained in trauma-responsive and anti-oppressive facilitation. Each session begins with a review of work from BIPOC writers to invite participants to understand the world in a new way. Then the class will dive into a generative prompt to write a letter to argue for increased equity and social justice. In this workshop, participants will explore how to use art as a vehicle for activism.
7. Level Up! Reading Program
Cost: $320 per month for classes that meet twice per week (excluding holidays)
Does your child struggle with understanding what they read? Is your child not good at answering multiple choice questions? Does your child get to the end of what they read and struggle with comprehension? Has your child been struggling with their school work in the past school year?
If you've answered "yes" to any of these questions, working with this master's-level tutor that specializes in reading difficulties is a great option. It is a wonderful way for your child to get the support they need while meeting other students with similar challenges so they do not feel alone in the struggle. To provide more individualized attention, each class is limited to four students.
The monthly package includes a comprehensive reading assessment which provides parents with the knowledge, next steps, and tips to build their child's skills in phonics, sight words, reading comprehension, spelling, mindset to learning, and learning style.
Virtual and in-person camps
8. Lighthouse Young Writers Summer Camp
Ages: Grades 4-12
Cost: $80+ per week for half-day camps; $200+ per week for full-day camps
Lighthouse Writers’ Workshop, based in Denver, Colorado, offers virtual and in-person summer programming for children and teens. Programs include half-day camps, Middle School Writing Intensive and High School Writing Intensive. Themes in the half-day camps include sci-fi, fantasy, writing for stress relief, and poetry. The writing intensives are full-day camps that include a variety of genres and sharing of work.
The company also offers some free one-day workshops and has financial assistance available for campers.
9. Camp Acta Non Verba (Camp ANV)
Ages: 5 to 15 years old
Cost: $225 per week
Founded by a Navy veteran and Master Gardener, Camp ANV offers in-person and virtual summer programming for youth at a farm in Oakland, California. Students complete arts, science, and reading projects as well as activities that promote fitness and wellness. Programming includes gardening, cooking, field trips, and financial literacy. Students will learn both the fun and the business side of sustainable agriculture and can earn money from their harvests if they are enrolled in at least four weeks of camp.
There are a limited number of camperships available to help defray the cost of the camp for those in need.
10. Expanding Young Minds
Ages: 9 to 18, girls only
Cost: $10 per month plus a $15 registration fee.
Expanding Young Minds is a Shreveport, Louisiana-based non-profit organization that focuses on mentoring girls aged 9 to 18. The in-person and virtual programming options include financial literacy, job readiness, academic achievement, mentoring, home economics, and entrepreneurship. The goal of the program is to help girls grow into successful young women.
11. Camp Diva Leadership Academy
Ages: Rising 6th-8th grade
Cost: $150 per week for 6 weeks. Includes camp t-shirt.
Camp Diva Leadership Academy is a camp for middle school-aged Black girls. The camp takes place in Virginia, and each week has a different theme and includes a field trip. Themes this year include: social justice, cultural traditions, STEAM education and leadership, entrepreneurship, personal finance, and wellness. The curriculum is one that is not typically offered in school and will uplift and encourage the campers.
New this year is an online portal for participants to connect an HBCU college student mentor. The organization provides financial assistance available for campers in need.
12. Basketball Camp with Coach Mason
Cost: $250 per week, includes lunch and T-shirt
The Coach Mason Basketball Summer Camp provides players of various skill levels with hands-on basketball training in a safe and friendly environment. The skills taught will be applicable for youth in both life and basketball. Coach Mason is a varsity basketball coach and has been voted Coach of the Year in the past. The Camp takes place at Eagle’s Landing Christian Academy in McDonough, Georgia, during the week of June 21-24.
13. Pretty Lake Camp
Ages: 8- 13
Cost: Free, selected to attend based on need. Need can be financial, social, or emotional.
The Pretty Lake program offers a traditional summer camp experience including nature, camp fires, arts and crafts, water sports, and other unique experiences. This camp builds children’s self esteem, independence, and ability to care for others. Pretty Lake Camp is a non-profit organization, and provides everything the campers need while attending the program including clothing, linens, transportation, food and activities. The camp serves the greater Kalamazoo County area.
14. Brantwood Camp
Cost: $250 registration fee covers food, housing, and all program-related costs.
Brantwood Camp provides an opportunity for students from New York City and Hartford, Connecticut to attend a 16-day overnight camp experience in rural New Hampshire. The camp activities are set up to embody the philosophical principles of the camp: honesty, loyalty, cooperation, good sportsmanship, and unselfishness. During their experience, campers develop self confidence and self esteem through traditional camp activities such as nature, aquatics, and cooperative activities. The program is full for 2021; but it does have a waitlist.
15. Camp Asbury
Ages: All Ages
Cost: $260+, varying depending on program length and level
Located in the Blue Hills Mountains of South Carolina, this is a Black-owned summer camp aligned with the Methodist church. This camp runs programming for all ages—from as young as elementary school-aged children to even some weeks of family camp. They offer a multitude of activities such as archery, arts and crafts, and ziplining. They offer different ‘levels’ of camps: some are shorter experiences, some are day-only and some are longer overnights.
16. Universal Moms
Cost: $30-$40 per class
This Bronxville, New York, program was created by two Black moms who wanted to create quality classes for young children. Classes are high energy and cover a variety of topics such as dance classes for little ones, bootcamp classes, preschool outdoor classes, a running program for older children, and so much more. They will also work with you to create a private pod for your family or group of families and travel to you in Westchester County.
To design your perfect programming email: email@example.com
Prices were accurate at the time this article was published but may change over time.