July 2020

Cabrillo Extension Offers Online Camps


In response to the ongoing Shelter in Place Orders for Santa Cruz County, Cabrillo College Extension has moved many of their popular workshops and summer camps to a virtual format with live instruction. Classes in creative arts, culinary, health & wellness, home & garden, as well as Extension’s summer youth camps are offered via live instruction that can be enjoyed from home. Students can interact with instructors and fellow students to complete projects and learn new skills, and classes are full of instructor-led demonstrations, social interaction, and expert guidance.

The Cabrillo Extension staff now works from home, but they have stayed connected to one another, and to their students, as they adapt to the virtual classroom. “The conversations we have had with our students have been so personal,” said Extension staff member Rogan Rennie. “It really hit us how meaningful these classes, workshops, and camps are to people. We knew it was important to pivot quickly and offer our classes in a whole new format.”

Jill Gallo, Extension’s Assistant Director, says that their commitment to the community is a constant driver for the team.
“We are all part of this community, and we know that community education and summer camps are a way to stay active, build and nurture relationships, as well as learn new skills, so we were determined to continue offering our programs. With their inherent social interactions, our classes and camps are a great way to counterbalance the effects of social distancing.”

Extension maintained as much consistency as possible, and continued to work with local artists and professionals to teach their classes. Many of the virtual classes are offered by the Cabrillo Extension instructors the community has come to know and love over the years. Emily Bondor, a beekeeper and educator who has been teaching Beekeeping with Extension since 2016, says the transition went well. “The Extension staff has walked instructors through the process of migrating our classes to an online platform. They took time to work with me on an individual level to adjust the format and content of my classes. Overall, it’s been a smooth transition and it’s been fun to learn how to adapt to this new format.”

Some instructors were skeptical about virtual instruction, because of the nature of their class content, but the experience has been positive for instructors and students alike. Melissa West, a local printmaker and printmaking instructor for Extension, was pleasantly surprised. “Printmaking is a very hands-on process, and I was a bit worried that my students might lose some technical details working remotely, but they were all stars. In a way, working remotely led the students to come up with some really great questions and insights that they might not have had had we met in person. The best moment was on the last day of class, when all the students shared their finished work. I was blown away by what they had accomplished.”
Even Extension’s popular culinary classes have moved to a virtual platform, both adult classes and summer youth camps. Sean Adams, a culinary instructor with Extension, said the experience was difficult, but well worth it. “Moving to an online format has definitely presented its fair share of challenges, but the response from our students thus far has been so great! Extension has created several new cooking classes and kids camps, designed just for this format, and I am really looking forward to our summer program.”

“The camps are super user-friendly and creative.” says Lori Kearney, an educator from Main St. Elementary School who is teaching several virtual youth camps. “Kids complete hands-on projects in between meetings, so they are not doing everything exclusively on screen. I have also been pleasantly surprised at the kids’ collaborative spirit. They have been using Zoom for the last few months in school, so they know how it works, and are game for trying new things. They also have a great sense of humor – we laugh about the challenges that come up and everyone seems motivated to help each other with projects.”

The Summer Youth Program launched on June 15th with virtual camps, which will continue through early August. In addition, Cabrillo Extension is excited to offer a limited number of on-campus camps during the month of July. These half-day, week long camps are designed to keep kids safe and healthy, while affording them the opportunity to explore content such as cooking, programming, or LEGO building. “Both virtual and in-person camps pose unique challenges this summer, but I’m so excited about what we’ve been able to accomplish!” said Alicia Bierson, Community Education Coordinator. “Whether your child attends from the comfort of your home, or is able to join us on campus, I’m sure they’ll have an awesome time at camp this year.”

Cabrillo Extension summer classes are now open for registration. For more information, and online registration, go to: cabrillo.edu/extension

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