Spotlight on Summertime Experiences
Researchers, practitioners, policymakers, and funders are increasingly aware of the powerful potential for summertime experiences and the need to design, implement, and continuously improve summertime experiences for all. Summer matters because it provides a unique opportunity to support the positive development and well-being of youth. Summertime experiences have changed from largely being unstructured to structured, from being affordable to expensive, from “school is out” to “school is in.” These experiences have the potential to yield positive outcomes for youth (including academic learning, social and emotional development, physical and mental health, and safety) as well as for their families, and communities.
AIR’s work on summertime experiences involves applied research and evaluation and technical assistance. Through our work, we recognize and elevate the diversity of summertime experiences with a grounding in the most current evidence on what works during the summer. Specifically, we:
- Implement rigorous implementation and impact evaluations of summertime experiences such as voluntary summer learning programs, camp experiences, and experiential learning opportunities;
- Conduct rigorous research on how program design can engage youth and foster positive development and learning;
- Provide professional development, training, technical assistance, and the broad dissemination of resources and tools to help summer program leaders and staff create, improve, and maintain excellent programs; and
- Study whether and how federal, state, and local policy influences the design, implementation, and outcomes of summertime experiences for youth, families, and communities.