By Brenda Vazquez Carranza & Marcia Lovett
Summer is a time for new experiences, personal growth, and unforgettable memories. For the rising seniors of Oneida, Madison, and Lac du Flambeau, their summer was elevated to a whole new level through the ITA Senior Residential Experience. This residential summer camp brought together students from different sites, allowing them to stay together in Smith Hall and immerse themselves in a week of learning, team bonding and pure enjoyment.
The ITA Senior Residential Experience was designed to provide these young minds with a holistic program that combined educational enrichment, personal development, and recreational activities. The camp aimed to empower the students to unlock their potential and prepare them for their final year before college.
The ITA Senior Residential Experience provided rising seniors with a dynamic curriculum including courses like “Identity Dialogues,” “Get Invested” and “College Prep.” In “Identity Dialogues,” the students delved deep into their own identities, exploring their cultural backgrounds, values, and personal beliefs. The interactive sessions encouraged open discussions and fostered an environment of respect and understanding, helping them develop empathy and effective communication skills.
“Get Invested” buzzed with creativity as students worked collaboratively as they became entrepreneurs and change-makers, by tackling real issues and coming up with innovative solutions to address them. Students crafted business pitches for their innovative solutions and received mentorship from our community partner volunteers Marc Pedone and Michael Flowers.
As the students approach their senior year, “College Prep” provides students a space for them to learn more in-depth about UW-Madison and the resources it provides. The class provided an introduction on college applications, essay writing, PEOPLE Scholar Program, and financial aid, that boosted their confidence and readiness for the upcoming college application process.
Beyond the classroom, rising seniors had the opportunity to explore the wonders of Madison and beyond. From exploring the UW campus and its surrounding area, hiking the scenic trails of Devils Lake State Park to experiencing art and culture at the Chazen Museum, the student embraced every moment of discovery.
An added benefit to this summer experience is having college residential counselors working closely with our students. Many of the counselors are ITA alums, which only adds to the richness of this experience! The camaraderie between the students and counselors included fun-filled team building activities such as, movie night, ice cream socials, spa day, and lip sync battle that brought everyone together, forging lasting friendships and memories.
The success of the ITA Senior Residential Experience was made possible by the support and collaboration of campus partners, including the Nicholas Recreation Center staff, Multicultural Student Center staff, Chazen Museum staff, and Smith Hall staff. Their contributions in creating a safe and enriching environment were invaluable.
The ITA Senior Residential Experience was nothing short of a blast for all the participants. They not only gained valuable knowledge and skills but also formed lasting connections with fellow rising seniors from different sites. The future is undoubtedly brighter, thanks to the ITA staff, ITA student hourlies, camp counselors, mentors, and campus partners who made this camp a resounding success.