This past summer we were fortunate to partner with the City of Cedar Key’s Youth Summer Program 2012 to provide the campers with activities exploring coastal change and community planning. The camp was available for Cedar Key and Rosewood area children and youth in kindergarten through twelfth grade.
Our project team developed a six-week curriculum, with the following lesson topics: the role of children and youth in community decision making; coastal dynamics and Cedar Key’s history; community planning and adapting to changes in coastal areas; mapping using geographic information systems (GIS); and envisioning Cedar Key’s future. Accompanying exercises included designing and building a city out of boxes, examining archaeological artifacts, making and reading maps, a photography walk, and a public art project in which campers envisioned the future of Cedar Key with coastal change.
At the end-of-camp celebration on August 15, campers made suggestions for how they would respond to future coastal change including: build higher houses; build the less important things close to the water and the more important things farther away from the water; help business owners and community members prepare by educating them on coastal change; and make areas that get flooded into a water park. Summarizing the theme of both the camp curriculum and the Florida Sea Grant project, one camper concluded: “If you don’t think about it before you do it, things might get messed up.” Cedar Key City Council member Sue Colson noted: “It was a wonderful opportunity for our community to have the university come and spend time with the children on a topic that is pertinent to them and their lives and share the things that may or may not occur in a fun and positive way.”
We thank the camp coordinators Molly and Crystal for their assistance beyond the call of duty and for being such a pleasure to work with. And we especially thank the kids for being so much fun and receptive to learning and creating during their summer “break”. We were very impressed and quickly became attached to these wonderful young people.
We wish Molly, Crystal, and all the kids and their families the best. The project team will have a booth at the Cedar Key Seafood Festival in October to showcase the summer camp activities, and we hope to see everyone there.
The UF summer camp educators were: Forrest Eddleton, Gail Easley, Kathryn Frank, Sean Reiss, Matthew Janicki, and Ashley Chaffin McGehee in the Department of Urban and Regional Planning; Paulette McFadden in the Department of Anthropology -Archeology; and Reba Abraham in the Levin College of Law. Sean Reiss also coordinated the summer camp curriculum.