A partnership between United Way of Pickens County, the School District of Pickens County, and the Pickens County YMCA, Camp iRock is an innovative summer camp which helps children improve their reading abilities while having tons of summer camp fun. In the spring, the School District of Pickens County identifies rising 2nd, 3rd and 4th graders who could use a boost in their reading abilities and sends their families an invitation to attend Camp iRock.
Camp iRock includes:
- Transportation to and from camp (if needed)
- Breakfast, lunch and snacks
- High quality reading instruction in a small group environment
- Swim lessons
- Field trips
- Traditional summer camp games and activities
Watch highlights from Camp iRock 2016!
- 469 children were invited to Camp iRock 2017, 251 pre-registered, 263 attended one or more days of Camp. The Maximum Camp capacity was 312.
- 93% of children attending Camp iRock experienced no summer learning loss and either maintained or increased their reading level.
- 63% of campers grew one or more reading level, with an average growth of 1.7 levels. This equates to almost double the typical growth rate.
- 79% of campers maintained or improved their positive demonstration of kindness and supporting others.
- 81% of campers displayed a positive or improved sense of belonging and feeling loved.
- 78% of campers displayed a positive or improved sense of self-worth and hope for the future.
- 69% of campers displayed a positive or improved sense of resieliency and learning from one's mistakes.
- 100% of campers tested improved in at least 1 of 5 physical fitness areas: abdominal strength and endurance, exterior trunk strength and endurance, aerobic capacity, upper body strength, and flexibility.
- 79% of parents surveyed said they felt more equipped to support their child as a reader and writer.
New in 2017
- A Special Education instructor was added to each site, adding another layer of classroom support.
- The Reading Buddy program engaged volunteers in Camp iRock classrooms, providing extra assistance to students.
- English to Spanish translators provided translation services for Spanish speaking families at Family Night.
- Early grade level books were provided at the Family Night Book Fair in order to allow younger siblings to take home books just like their Camp iRock big brother or sister.
- YMCA Counselors and Camm Me MiSTERs sent home positive notes to all parents about each child's behavior or character.
What People are Saying
We are in the process of adopting two children through the foster care system. When we first met the children, they had been living in cars and motels. Reading was a tremendous struggle because they had very little knowledge. Thank God they got into Camp iRock. They are ready and waiting for the bus at least 30 minutes before it is due. Both children have made tremendous progress at Camp iRock.
Camp iRock parent.
I cannot think of a better team of dedicated professionals. They ahve transformed the way our school district addresses this dire need in our community. They have developed a model that helps our students in ways we could have never thought possible. I am very proud.
Dr. Brian Swords, Director, TriCounty Technical College Easley Campus, and member of the School District of Pickens County Board of Trustees
The Camp iRock model illustrates how a community can collaborate to improve reading achievement for struggling students. The collaboration between the School District of Pickens County, United Way of Pickens County, the local YMCA and Clemson University's Call Me Mister Program maximizes the resources and assets of the community. The state needs more examples of such collaboration to help struggling learners get back on the path to academic success. Camp iRock is unlocking a child's ability to learn and read, and thus helping to ensure that one day, they will be graduating college and career ready.
South Carolina Education Oversight Committee
We took our granddaughter into our home because her mother couldn't care for her. She barely passed 1st grade and most likely would be held back in 2nd grade. Then she went to Camp iRock. Honestly, in the beginning she really struggled with the reading and wanted to quit. But she LOVED the camp part. That is what kept her going. By the end of the summer she was a different kid. Her first report card arrived today. All A's and B's for the first time in her life. There are no words to describe how excited she was.
Camp iRock grandparent
What I love most about Camp iRock is the reading. The Y counselors are really cool. When I don't know a hard word, everybody helps me figure it out. It's awesome. I've really improved my reading a lot. My favorite field trip was the Clemson Botanical Garden. I learned all about this black and white butterfly.
Camp iRock camper
It's exciting to me to see how much the children have accomplished. They have made so much progress in listening, comprehension and sharing what they've learned. Now they can't wait to read!
Camp iRock teacher