Last week, we ran a story about the “summer slide,” the erosion of vocabulary and other academic skills during long breaks from school. Researchers say it especially affects kids don’t have access to summer schools, camps or other structured activities during the summer.
“Summer is a time when the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” said Ron Fairchild, executive director of the Center for Summer Learning at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. “We think of summer as this time for camp and recreation and all kinds of fun programs, but it’s a wasteland for many low-income children. There’s no other time of year where inequality is greater then the summer, and it has a huge impact on the achievement gap.”
The Oakland Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth Baseball League fills that void for dozens of Oakland kids each summer. And last week, the 9-year-old team won the state tournament and advanced to the Pacific Southwest competition in Panguitch, Utah. The coaches said they just learned, however, that the team would have to come up with the money for the trip.
“We’re committed to getting the boys to Utah one way or another, but if you could help us, it would get us that much closer,” Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth President Louis Butler wrote in a fundraising letter.
Sam Taylor, the team manager, said the trip will be a memorable experience for the young players. ” A lot of them haven’t even been out of the state, or out of the area,” he said. “It’s just something that they don’t get to do, on their own.”
If anyone wants to help, they can reach Butler, the league president, at 395-4753, or Taylor at 638-3494.
image courtesy of the Oakland Cal Ripken-Babe Ruth Baseball League