MARTINSVILLE, IN — (January 18, 2024) — The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) recently named Mo-Ranch Summer Camp as the recipient of the 2023 NSLA New York Life Foundation’s Excellence in Summer Learning Award.
Since 2005, the New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Award, defined by its rigorous application and selection process, has recognized enrollment-based programs that keep children and youth safe, healthy, and learning during the critical summer months.
Applicants for these awards demonstrate strong outcomes in helping students grow their passions and cement skills learned during the school year through creative curricula, unique programming, and effective family engagement strategies.
“Each of this year’s four winners brings a unique track record of accomplishments and a creative program model to meet the needs, passions and interests of their students. Whether focused on supporting student academic, mental and physical health needs, teaching STEM and Career Skills, building leadership skills and community partnerships, our award winners show us all what is possible and how best to leverage the summer months to ensure all kids in the US are safe, learning, active, healthy and better prepared for the next school year,” said Aaron Philip Dworkin, CEO, NSLA.
Located in Hunt, Texas, Mo-Ranch Summer Camp was founded in 1977 and is accredited by the American Camp Association (ACA). ACA accreditation indicates that a camp program has met up to 300 standards for health, safety, risk management, and program quality.
Mo-Ranch is an overnight summer camp serving youth ages 8–15. Each session is action-packed and designed to provide campers with a wide variety of exciting activities, including canoeing, archery, high ropes, swimming, games and outdoor sports, mountain biking, critter classes, nature hikes, and crafts. All these engaging activities occur within a Christian backdrop, accompanied by daily Bible study and worship sessions. Committed the supporting the community, 37 percent of the youth who participate receive scholarships to join the camp. Mo-Ranch collaborates with various organizations, including K’Star, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Angel Tree, and local school districts. Together, they identify young individuals who would greatly benefit from an immersive outdoor and camp experience.
In addition, Mo-Ranch is one of the participating programs in ACA and NSLA’s 2022–2024 Camp-School Partnership Demonstration Project. In this collaboration, funding is provided to 13 camps across the country, each receiving $25,000 toward a camp-school partnership, and matched by $25,000 in Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief Funding from schools, districts, charter networks, and/or community organizations.
The purpose of this project is to support camps and schools in implementing high-quality, camp-based experiences that support middle-school students’ social-emotional learning and address COVID-related learning loss, along with gathering research that demonstrates the positive effects of camp-school collaboration and builds long-term capacity for successful partnerships.
This partnership is made possible by the New York Life Foundation, the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation, and the Pinkerton Foundation.
“The camp-school partnership with NSLA and ACA has shone a light on the learning gap that children face these days,” said Julie Chapa of Mo-Ranch. “This program has shown that when kids are allowed to explore, grow, and learn with each other, the effects are seen long after. We see a growth in confidence, effective communication, collaboration, and this growth carries over to the school year. There is a marked difference in the children that can participate in summer learning supported by the schools than those that do not. The camp-school partnership has proven that we know how to improve the learning gap.”
For more information about camp-school partnerships, please contact PR@ACAcamps.org.
About the American Camp Association
The American Camp Association® (ACA) is a national organization serving the more than 15,000 year-round and summer camps in the US who annually serve 26 million campers. ACA is committed to collaborating with those who believe in quality camp and outdoor experiences for children, youth, and adults. ACA provides advocacy, evidence-based education, and professional development, and is the only independent national accrediting body for the organized camp experience. ACA accreditation provides public evidence of a camp's voluntary commitment to the health, safety, risk management, and overall well-being of campers and staff. For more information, visit ACAcamps.org or call 800-428-2267.
About the National Summer Learning Association (NSLA)
The National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) is the only national nonprofit exclusively focused on closing the achievement and opportunity gaps by increasing access to high-quality summer learning opportunities. NSLA recognizes and disseminates what works in summer learning, develops and delivers community capacity-building offerings and convenes and empowers key actors to embrace summer learning as a solution for equity and excellence in education. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.[GU1]
About New York Life Foundation
Inspired by New York Life’s tradition of service and humanity, the New York Life Foundation has, since its founding in 1979, provided over $390 million in charitable contributions to national and local nonprofit organizations. The Foundation supports programs that benefit young people, particularly in the areas of educational enhancement, childhood bereavement and social justice. The Foundation also encourages and facilitates the community involvement of employees and agents of New York Life through its Volunteers for Good program and Grief-Sensitive Schools Initiative. To learn more, please visit newyorklifefoundation.org
About the National Summer Learning Association
Celebrating 30 years of impact, NSLA has worked to combat summer learning loss and close the opportunity gaps which research shows grows most dramatically between lower and higher income students over the summer months. NSLA works to ensure all of America’s students, regardless of background, income, or zip code, can access and benefit from a high-quality summer learning experience every year. For more information, visit www.summerlearning.org.