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Summer camp for kids helps build engaged citizens

June 10, 2010

Parents who would like to help their children develop interpersonal and leadership skills while learning how to be engaged in their local communities have a new opportunity this summer. Arizona State University’s Center for Civic Engagement and Leadership (CCEL) has launched a Civic Engagement Summer Camp that will bring civic involvement alive for children entering grades three through eight.

The weeklong camp, to be held at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, will be offered June 21-25. Hours are 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily.

The camp that starts June 21 is the second offering this summer; the first camp is now under way. “Campers in the current group are actively engaged and parents have been highly supportive,” said Sherman Elliott, CCEL’s director. “While most participants are from metropolitan Phoenix, we also have campers from the Navajo Nation and Casa Grande.”

Student participants learn how they can make a positive impact in the community. Activities include field trips to civic locations including courts, the Arizona Legislature and Phoenix City Hall. Campers will actively engage in age-appropriate collaborative projects, simulations and conversations with local leaders. The experience culminates with a town hall meeting, led by the students, to which family and community members will be invited.

“Children of all ages need to discover not only who they are but how they are able to participate in their local, state and national communities,” Elliott said.

Through partnerships with university, community, and civic organizations throughout the region and world, CCEL aspires to increase civic engagement through research and education. CCEL was created to address the need for inquiry and action to increase the quantity and quality of participation in a civil society.

“Schools and families typically don’t have the time and resources needed to enable all children to develop these essential life skills,” Elliott said. “We are confident that CCEL’s summer camp will help students discover their leadership skills and unearth their own desire to strengthen their communities.”

Camp counselors are pre-service teachers enrolled in ASU’s Mary Lou Fulton Teachers College, which houses CCEL. The ASU students possess experience working with groups of children in classroom settings. They also have completed the fingerprint clearance process required for Arizona teacher certification.

The cost of the Civic Engagement Summer Camp is $225 per student, which includes a $25 non-refundable registration fee. Sponsorships are available for students from families meeting income requirements.

The camp will be held in Building C of the Mercado at ASU’s Downtown Phoenix campus, 641 E. Van Buren St. Fifteen minutes of free parking will be provided at the Heritage Square Parking Garage for student drop-off and pick-up.

The registration process may be completed online at For more information, contact Daisy Talavera at (602) 496-0117 or