School & Community News

Summer camp with a health focus
August 25, 2020

August 2020 … For the first time, Healthy NewsWorks offered a digital health journalism camp this summer.

Fifteen students, ages 9 to 14, enrolled for nine sessions in June and July. Most of them were veteran reporters of the Healthy NewsWorks program.

The camp was co-led by Victoria Strickland, a teacher who oversees the healthy newspaper at East Norriton Middle School, and Marian Uhlman, Healthy NewsWorks executive director.

“The summer camp was a wonderful and rewarding opportunity for students with a passion for writing and storytelling to get a hands-on virtual experience,” said Mrs. Strickland, who brought her extensive background as a former TV news producer to the camp. “It was fantastic watching these young journalists work hard to improve their writing skills.”

During the camp, which was free, students refreshed their basic journalism skills such as identifying experts and sourcing information. They also learned about videography and even produced their own public service announcement videos. Rhonna Cooper, a nurse and public health preparedness coordinator for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, visited via Zoom and answered questions about the impact of the coronavirus and how people could stay safe.

Students said in written reflections that they got a lot out of the program.

“Thank you for the summer camp experience,” said Michaila, a seventh grader from Philadelphia. “There were so many things I learned that I could use in the future. I really appreciate the opportunity.”

Ava, a fourth grader in Norristown, said she “had a great time learning. Also, we could write our own questions and our own paragraphs about what we thought about the interviews.”

Healthy NewsWorks benefited too, Ms. Uhlman said. “The virtual camp gave us some great experience in developing after-school programming, which we plan to implement in the current school year,” she said. “We want to reach as many children as we can with the Healthy NewsWorks programming, especially during these challenging times.”

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Since 2003, Healthy NewsWorks has been empowering elementary and middle school students to become researchers, writers, and confident communicators who advance health understanding and literacy through their factual publications and digital media.