Summer Changes Everything: Garden of Fire to Present at Baltimore Conference

2015 Conf badge-presenterI am very pleased to be presenting at the 12th Annual National Summer Learning Association Conference. This year’s conference theme, Renewing the Promise and Purpose of Learning, celebrates the joy of learning, the perfect tie-in with our own Garden of Fire Summer Program.

I, Gigi Alvaré , Director of Education at The Rockwell Museum, will travel to Baltimore to present with my colleagues Emily Hofelich-Bowler and Alli Lidie; we’ll present on how networking and collaboration can spark innovation in summer programming.

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Gigi Alvaré, Director of Education at The Rockwell Museum, reads the Garden of Fire story during the first summer session

Our presentation, entitled Garden of Fire: Reaping the Rewards of Community Networking Through a Joint Summer Program, will highlight how several organizations and programs came together in a rural community to create a rich summer program for youth. The Garden of Fire was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Challenge America Grant after the first summer of programming.

The session will give context to the Garden of Fire collaboration with an opening discussion, led by Alli Lidie, Deputy Director and White-Riley-Peterson Policy Fellow of AfterSchool Works! NY: the New York State Afterschool Network (ASW:NYSAN). Alli will speak about the structure for regional after-school networks in New York State that bring together both after-school and summer providers in their communities. The Garden of Fire program grew out of the relationships formed through network participation, and through work with The Triangle Fund, a funder and member of the network. The session will also touch on work done by other regional networks in New York.

Emily Hofelich-Bowler, Executive Director of the Addison Youth Center
Emily Hofelich-Bowler, Executive Director of the Addison Youth Center, presents her owl friend to students

The Garden of Fire is a project conceived collaboratively by local organizations whose purpose is to build capacity, depth and the integration of art and science for programs serving at-risk youth in Steuben County, New York. Emily Hofelich-Bowler, Executive Director of the Addison Youth Center, will speak about networking with the local school districts to optimize resources, and how incorporating state-wide learning initiatives (STEM) as part of the program gave the summer program more leverage and legitimacy in asking for school support.

By providing programming led by professional artists and educators held in museums, gardens, and fields, the local community and region opens up to students who otherwise might have very limited opportunities. It is our hope that the model program we have collectively created will spark the imagination and action of other communities to build their own Gardens of Fire.

Together we can care for our most precious gifts: the earth itself and the children who live on it. 

Gigi1Gigi Alvaré
Director of Education
The Rockwell Museum

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