A Gifted Child’s Perspective: Summer Inspiration

M. René Islas, executive director of the National Association for Gifted Children, with Tyne Watts.

M. René Islas, executive director of the National Association for Gifted Children, with Tyne Watts.

I attended my first summer camp at 6-years old.  After that experience, I looked forward to attending every year.  At summer camp, I was exposed to new things with friendly staff in a positive environment. During one year of summer camp, the academic enrichment was so great that I was able to test out of the traditional 2nd grade math program when school started.  My school created a special math program for me and a few other students who attended the same summer camp with me. Two years later, I found myself being identified as a gifted student and math is one of my favorite subjects. Even though all camps don’t offer academic enrichment, they do expose kids to lots of new concepts and ideas that are valuable. I think all kids deserve stimulating opportunities like that during the summer.

Maryland’s Governor Larry Hogan of Maryland issued an executive order in 2016 mandating that all Maryland public schools start after Labor Day. The executive order cites the August heat and state economic deprivation as reasons for the mandate. Starting school later may help Maryland’s workforce and economy thrive, but it also creates an additional stress for working parents who can’t stay home with their children for an additional 1 or 2 weeks. Where I live in Prince George’s County, a very few camps have extended sessions to accommodate parents, but they may not have plans for additional activities that will engage campers.    

As a second year Girl Scout Cadette, as well as a gifted student, it is my duty to help my community flourish and grow. In attempting to help the gifted student population increase, I plan to help those extended camps by providing them with materials to expose students and parents to gifted education along with thought-provoking activities to try during those last camp sessions. I hope to help more children have an opportunity like the one that I had 7 years ago.

With the support of the National Association for Gifted Children, I will be visiting summer camp locations with extended sessions in Prince George’s County, and I will distribute packets of fun ideas for camps and information for parents on the importance of gifted education.

Even if you’re not at one of the camps I will be visiting, you can access the web-based resources here:

Enjoy the rest of summer!

Tyne Watts is a rising freshman in the LEAD engineering program at Elizabeth Seton High School in Bladensburg, MD; a top tier ranked MD state level 8 USAG gymnast; and a candidate for the Girl Scout Silver Award with Cadette Troop 4041 at Ebenezer A.M.E. Church, Fort Washington, MD.