July 25, 2014

A chance to be a kid

The Tiger Woods Learning Center is wrapping up its 4th annual Summer Academy, which provides children of military families a week of unforgettable experiences, fun experiments and lifelong friends. Children from military families were given scholarships to attend, and flew in from all over the country. We asked parents Abbey Bishop and Hayva Hill how Summer Academy has made a difference in the lives of their children.

Q: How is the TWLC Summer Academy making a difference in your child’s life?

Abbey Bishop: My husband is military and the fact that it’s a camp organized for military dependents is amazing. Not only are they getting to travel, but they are with kids that are in similar situations. A lot of kids don’t understand what it’s like to lose a parent for six months to a year at a time. They become friends with these kids, and the friendships really last. It’s great.

Hayva Hill: It gave them confidence and really prepared them for school. They got to dissect animals, and do things that other kids their age don’t get to do. It really solidified their career goals. My son now wants to be a zoologist, and my daughter wants to be an orthodontist.

Q: How is the camp beneficial to your child’s growth?

AB: The camp itself is so accelerated in regards to other camps. My daughter learned so much from the STEM classes. Even going to Disneyland was a great learning experience. It was fun, but they also did activities and learned too. She couldn’t stop talking about it.

It’s great that they’re surrounded by other children who know exactly where they’re coming from. They really connect with each other on a level that other kids can’t. Madison met friends that she still talks to a year later. She has that forever.

Q: What were your child’s favorite aspects of the camp?

AB: She loved the marine biology class, where she dissected marine animals. She took it both times. I would have been squeamish about it but she loved it. She also really liked the evening activities, and the zip-lining was her favorite. The counselors were great too. She just couldn’t get enough.

Q: Why, as a child from a military family, is it so important to go to this camp?

HH: Military children travel so often that they don’t get the opportunity to enjoy a normal childhood. They’re on a military base in a military town, and don’t get to call any place their own. This camp has turned into a home for them. It’s somewhere they can return to. It’s their neighborhood, their school, their home. It provides comfort for them. It’s something they can look forward to every summer.

Q: Do you notice a difference in your child after returning from camp?

AB: Madison had so much fun at the camp that she actually became more interested in school. She got really excited about biology, and really excelled at it while she was there. Even her teachers were impressed with what she had done there. She became a great student.

Q: How is Summer Academy beneficial to you, personally?

AB: I love that they learn. It makes me feel good about sending them away, and I don’t feel like I’m just trying to get rid of them for a week. I get to help them. They’re learning. They’re growing. It’s great to see your kids so happy and excited about learning.

HH: I’m proud that I am able to do something for my children that I was never able to experience at their age. Seeing them grow individually into wonderful members of society is wonderful. I don’t worry about their wellbeing. I’m so grateful I can do this for my kids.

Q: How does it make you feel knowing that this camp exists for children from military families?

AB: It’s fantastic. Unfortunately, military children are unlike a lot of other children. They go through and endure way more than others. It’s something that a lot of people don’t understand, and these kids do. To know that there’s a program that exists and doesn’t just try to compensate for them, but actually tries to help them grow is exciting. I’m always so distraught at the airport when I’m sending them off, but I know the kids love it.

Q: What specifically makes you return to this camp?

AB: Around here there aren’t a lot of opportunities for any sort of learning camp, and the ones they have are extremely expensive. We are a military family and we try to provide for our kids as best we can, but there are limitations. I can send Madison to this camp for free, knowing that she enjoys it.

HH: The military scholarship was very helpful financially, and without it I would not be able to send them. It’s wonderful that the foundation is providing help for the child. Military children often get overlooked. The academics are great. They both just fell in love with zoology.

It’s never too soon to start supporting next year’s Summer Academy. Donate today and give students the chance to just be kids!