Toes in the sand. Waves hitting the beach. Suntan lotion on salty skin. Coolers full of refreshments. Welcome to summer.
For many teachers, hitting the beach is standard operating procedure once the bells sound for the last day of school. Whether the destination is the Outer Banks, North Carolina, Ocean City, Maryland or the Jersey Shore, educators seek relaxation and a reprieve from lesson planning and grading.
For two area teachers, however, summer provides the backdrop for teaching outside the classroom.
Food for Thought
Laura Hughes, seventh-grade teacher at St. Francis Xavier School in Gettysburg, volunteers for Meals & More of Gettysburg an educational summer program that positively impacts local children in need by providing a nutritious breakfast, lunch, snacks, and activities.
The program, Hughes states, is for the “children who reside in the shelters in Gettysburg.” The participants come from a variety of places, including the Agape Houses, Circles of Support program, and Survivors.
Last summer, the program enrolled 28 children for eight weeks, Monday through Friday.
Originating at Prince of Peace Episcopal Church in 2004, the program is now an inter-church effort, reaching beyond food and helping young people grow spiritually and academically. Programs are offered in athletics, self-esteem building, and conflict resolution. A significant amount of time is spent on teaching respect for others.
The program serves as a community outreach, not only helping the children, but also reaching out to community members to serve as presenters, an opportunity which allows for those in the town to share their gifts and talents with the youngsters. One local resident brought in an animal to teach the kids how to care for pets.
Another local teacher is sharing a love of travel with a group of students.
For Megan Babb, foreign language teacher at Delone Catholic High School and a Frederick, Maryland native, traveling is not just something to do, but it is a way of life.
“I always found that people did not live the exact same lifestyle as I did very fascinating,” shares Babb.
From June 29–July 21, this experienced traveler will take a group of approximately 15 students to France as part of the French Regional Identity Program through The Experiment in International Living, a division of World Learning Corporation. Babb, along with her co-leader, who is a resident of Utah, will travel with the students to the France-Germany border for full immersion into a culture with a clear German influence.
While a little shocking at first, Babb believes immersion has its benefits.
“[Students] don’t have security blankets, and it’s a huge shock, but after awhile,” Babb explains, “you get the full experience.”
A traveler at heart, having spent time in Morrocco, Jordan, Israel, Canada, and France, Babb is excited to share her love of globetrotting with these students.
“My own study abroad was set up similarly,” states Babb. And adds, “I’m glad I get to be there for them.”
Babb will spend a week of training in Vermont, the company’s headquarters. It is here where she will learn the policies, procedures, and itinerary.
“The leaders determine the excursions with student input,” notes Babb. “It is not a touristy thing.”
The students and leaders will stay with host families during their adventure.
“Ever since I was little,” reflects Babb, “I have loved the sound of other languages. After watching Madeline,” she continues, “I knew I wanted to learn two languages.” Today, Babb is fluent in Arabic, French, and Spanish.
Being able to travel again and introducing kids to all of the joys of another culture is a dream come true for Babb.
“I don’t want to just read about it,” she declares, “I want to see it in action.”
For more information on Meals & More, contact Nancy Forgang at 717-778-1438 and World Learning, www.experimentinternational.org