camper with volunteer Pheonix J. Rodriquez 
and camp coordinator LaToya Wood 
S.T.E.A.M –y Summer for the Bristol Bits
by Cate Murway

Steamy weather conditions have been stacking up to make 2015 a remarkably hot time this summer….. but the Bristol Borough Learning Center’s S.T.E.A.M is proving to be a very COOL program for the Bristol Bits.

For the third consecutive year, Bristol Borough Council funded $20,000.00 for this year’s Camp for student-residents in grades 1 – 8 (September 2015) attending public, parochial, private or home schools.

The Camp is offered by the Advisory Oversight Committee [AOC], an entity created by the Grundy Foundation and volunteer community residents.
The six-week Camp began July 6th and will end August 13th, running Mondays through Thursdays from 8:30 AM – 1:00 PM at Snyder-Girotti Elementary School. Curricula approved by the Bristol Borough School District will be utilized in S.T.E.M. [referring to the academic disciplines of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] academic sessions. Physical activities, including sports, are also provided. 
But Warren Snyder – John Girotti Elementary/ Middle School is going full S.T.E.A.M. ahead, stamping an “A” in S.T.E.M., assuring that the integrated curriculum includes the Arts, always promoting progress with a passion!

The King George II Inn hosted a concert raising $10,000.00 to benefit the Bristol Borough Learning Centers on June 26th. One hundred percent of the ticket sales from the Jazz on the River concert benefited the after-school and summer camp programs provided for the Bristol Borough youth in grades K-12. The KG II truly overlooks NOTHING.... except the Delaware River. In fact the co-owners, Bruce Lowe and Robert Strasser even gave the Learning Center youth the shirts FOR their backs.

Jazz on the River was such a grand, successful event while being a truly fun evening for an important cause, Bruce and Robert are planning on hosting it again next year.

The Advisory and Oversight Committee of Bristol Borough Learning Centers is so very thankful!
The AOC was formed in 2010, providing free access to programs delivered by professionals in a safe, fun and nurturing environment for the Borough students, regardless of income, race, gender, or academic achievement.
Parx Casino and Racing in Bensalem generously donated an additional $10,000.00.

The eclectic mix of programs keeps the youths intellectually active during their summer vacation and follows the AOC’s commitment to their mission that all youth deserve access to academic support and extracurricular opportunities that will enrich their lives. Their effort, also mobilizing the caring power of community, increases the chance of scholastic success in core academic subjects such as reading, math and science.

The 1 st-4 th grade student/campers work on academics in the morning then they alternate with the 5th-8th graders. The youngest group joyously [and safely, thank you to Police Chief Arnold Porter] walked to the Margaret R. Grundy Memorial Library last Thursday and then happily about the town, to 'SING THEIR THANKS'.

The Grundy Library truly empowers the future of our community and the Learning Center staff and volunteers offer a sincere thank you to the Grundy children’s librarian, Barbara L. Kern and Shirley Hickey, the Youth Services Coordinator, who share ideas, expertise, and a treasure trove of materials to produce this high-quality summer reading program.
Lime green shirted Kevin Fayson and another “Summer Camp” buddy, Cole Guy, patiently waited in line after the “story-time” session to choose a ‘Super Hero Finger Puppet’ after masterfully coloring a ‘Super Power’ book marker.

Many libraries across the country are using "Every Hero Has a Story" as the theme of their 2015 Collaborative Summer Program. Children acquire significant skills throughout the school year, but they can lose ground if learning comes to a halt during the summer break. This reading curriculum spearheads the BBLC’s multipronged efforts to counteract a potential ‘summer slide sidestep’ for the kids and prevent a seasonal drain of their literacy knowledge.

Amy McIlvaine, the fundraising coordinator who also aptly publicizes Borough events, along with educator / Title 1 federal program coordinator, Mary Gesualdi, and the very devoted AOC member, Anne D. Casmirri, who, as always, provided excellent community representation.
 “Special thanks to the Bristol Borough Learning Center's Summer STEM campers, Miss LaToya Wood and all our fabulous counselors for making us proud to be from Bristol! Thanks to Mr. Mark Carter for walking along and capturing such great shots of our campers!” shared Mary Gesualdi.

Bristol Borough Learning Camp coordinator/ Snyder-Girotti 6th grade English teacher, LaToya Wood, BHS ‘04 smiled, “Half our campers took the trip today to thank Bristol Borough Council and King George Inn for sponsoring our camp.”
Along with preparing the rigorous camp curriculum, that encompasses an hour and 40 minutes dedicated to academics with the same time frame allotted to recreation, and taking care of the kids, LaToya is making wedding preparations. She will marry Kevin Sahm on August 8th.

Counselor Ashley K. LaRosa, a Snyder-Girotti substitute Elementary Ed teacher “loves the program. It’s very well organized. It splits up academics and a time to play and they enjoy it every day and they come back!”

The AOC continues to require donations of both time and money and they always need solid community support. The committee is actively seeking partnerships with businesses, the service groups and the residents of the local community to secure funding. They are most thankful that despite any current economic dreariness, the people of this community have proven that they are most willing to reach out and help historic Bristol on the Delaware.
Time marches on….. as do the youth.

Small towns are idyllic, cohesive, friendly, and unhurried and the ones with true heart, like Bristol Borough, work diligently for the youth who portend the future of this unified, proud community. Clearly, there’s no place like home.
Come to Historic Bristol on the Delaware for a day, a decade or a lifetime. We have a lot to offer.
The children are our future.

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campers with counselor Michael Petrino