Portland students form online summer camp alternative

AM Extra

The "Summer Action Team" is a project-based program that gives students the opportunity to serve Portland communities affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – With the coronavirus pandemic canceling a number of summer activities, a group of local teens have stepped up and created an online alternative.

Portland-area students formed a virtual summer camp, called the Summer Action Team.

“Our program is a place for groups of local students to collaborate virtually to serve the organizations on the front lines of the COVID-19 crisis,” program director Rye Scholin said.

A St. Mary’s Academy student, Scholin says the Summer Action Team is a project-based, two-week online program created by students, for students.

“For the students we are hoping to guide them towards making visible change and, also, hoping to foster their organizational community building, service and leadership skills,” Scholin added.

Scholin told AM Extra that she helped launch the summer online program as part of an expansion to the Portland Students Pandemic Response website– that connects high school students to local organizations in need of extra help.

“We got an amazing response from the Portland community over 15,000 hits on our website,” Scholin said. “Students were even reaching out looking for ways to connect deeper and make deeper change.”

Student Action Team leader Noura Smith says the new online alternative will group students together to create and develop a project that benefits local organizations on the frontlines of the pandemic, such as hospitals and food banks.

“We have three different cohorts that students can choose from. The healthcare cohort, the food insecurity cohort and identity base cohort and they focus on different areas and aspects of Portland,” Smith said.

Students accepted into the summer program will be placed in a specific cohort based on their own interests in making change, how they learn, and how they work with others.

“We just really want students to know that this is for them to be able to share their voices. This is really from the students, to the students, for the city,” Smith added.

The Summer Action Team is free. Portland-area high school students that are interested have until Friday, June 26th to submit an application. For more information, visit pspandemicresponse.com/summer-offerings/.

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