A “Catch-up Literacy Camp” supported by Waikato Farmers Trust in October 2021 for youth who struggle with literacy, has been a positive experience for the youth involved, with many improving their literacy and increasing their confidence around reading and learning.
Those who attended the camp face learning challenges including dyslexia, and the camp was an opportunity to give them a positive, interactive education experience.
“Having a smallish camp created a unique camp. Kids were crying because they had to leave – and a couple of staff nearly joined in. These kids will be given priority in attending the 2021 camps as 2020 has not been kind to them,” says a Rural Youth and Adult Literacy Trust coordinator.
As the camp progressed, children became more engaged and positive towards their learning experience, and improved literacy:
“One boy refused to participate on day one, and by day three was asking to go first. Another was heard, on the ride back home, to read out a TV guide on his phone, ‘The Do-Upp-er. See I can read now!’ He sounded so proud and hooked on his ability to work words out”.
The wider Waikato community benefits long-term by having these students as participating, employable, young people within the community. A ripple effect is also created when one person with literacy problems gets help, as they encourage others to do the same, through leading by example.
“We changed twelve lives dramatically. We know that those kids went back to school with a better attitude to learning and we plan to follow up in April, July and October 2021 to make sure they never look back.”