The Keylatch Summer provides underserved children from Boston's South End with a high-quality, enriching summer camp experience. Community leaders, families, and Keylatch staff engage campers in activities that allow them to explore new opportunities, deepen cultural and community pride, and foster a love of learning.
Racial tensions and inter-neighborhood violence abound, and most of the youth violence that occurs in Boston takes place in and around the South End. The community is facing many problems due to gentrification and the loss of public housing space, as low-income housing is encroached upon by market-rate buyers and more and more of the neighborhood is built up by developers of high-end real estate. Insufficient schools and bilingual education are a major problem for the largely Latino (primarily Puerto Rican) residents, and Spanish is the first language of many of the children in the camp. Keylatch aims to offer a safe, enriching summer experience-both academically and socially- for children in the South End at a low cost to families.
The camp day, which typically runs from 8:30 am - 4:30 pm, is divided into two main parts - mornings are spent engaged in classroom learning while afternoons are spent on educational and fun field trips in and around Boston.The camp engages in an annual camping trip and a final trip, both of which are usually outside of the Boston area. Keylatch also holds a final show in order to showcase the achievements of the children throughout the summer.
The student:staff ratio is typically 5:1. Camp staff includes two or more directors, college-age senior counselors, and high school-age junior counselors who come from the South End and surrounding communities; often, Junior counselors are former campers who grew up in the camp, then go on to become Senior Counselors and sometimes also directors. In creating and sharing in this experience, college and high school - age staff members gain tangible leadership skills, a deeper understanding of themselves, and a compelling awareness of social service, as well as providing children in the South End with an amazing summer!