The Princeton-Blairstown Center was awarded the prestigious New York Life Foundation Excellence in Summer Learning Founder’s Award which recognizes outstanding summer programs that demonstrate excellence in accelerating academic achievement and promoting healthy development for low-income children and youth between pre-kindergarten and twelfth grade. The program was cited for its attention to culture, excellence, use of nature, and outstanding staff.

Since 2004, the Excellence in Summer Learning Award program has been a critical strategy of the National Summer Learning Association to support the growth and visibility of high-quality summer learning programs. Excellence Award winning programs are remarkable for their efforts to curb learning losses, particularly among low-income students who are disproportionately at risk for academically falling behind their higher-income peers during the summer. Winning programs demonstrate exemplary practices in overall programming, including professional development for program staff and collaboration with community partners in fulfilling shared goals for student and family engagement.

PBC’s Summer Bridge Program is a one-week leadership development and academic enrichment program that is designed to serve approximately 600 low-income young people, free of charge, and help students lessen summer learning loss; build social-emotional skills like cooperation, communication, creativity, critical-thinking skills, and responsibility; and form positive, supportive relationships with peers and adults.

During the week-long program, students spend three hours a day engaged in hand-on Literacy, STEM, and project-based learning classes. They also spend several hours a day learning and practicing critical 21st century skills like communication, collaboration, creativity, and critical thinking. At the end of the week, students are able to take home a new or gently used book of their choice from our library to continue the learning back home.

“It is a tremendous honor to have our Summer Bridge Program recognized on a national level, by an organization that promotes access to high-quality summer learning opportunities for low-income young people,” president and CEO Pam Gregory said. “It validates the work we have done over the past four years to provide exemplary, hands-on learning opportunities for youth that not only connects them to the outdoors, but also helps them understand that learning and inquiry can be fun.