Today, Soccer Without Borders is excited to announce the launch of our Virtual Summer Academy (VSA) which combines small group sessions with various at-home activities focused on wellness, English language learning, academics, and social connection. As youth programs across the US continue to adjust programming to support the health and well-being of their communities, the VSA seeks to address social and linguistic isolation and learning loss deeply felt by newcomer youth at this time. SWB Virtual Summer Academy was envisioned out of a need to address the social isolation, decreased physical activity, decreased access to academic services and support, and decreased opportunity to practice, maintain, and grow English language skills that many newcomer youth will continue to face this summer. The VSA is designed with four components and specific objectives in mind:
Across SWB's 5 USA programs more than 575 youth placed in 43 unique cohorts will take part in 5 weeks of programming. Each week students will participate in 8 hours of English language development, 3 hours of fitness-based activities, 30 minutes of 1-on-1 mentorship with their SWB coach, 2 circle ups with peers and mentors in addition to logging their work in a weekly Wellness Journal.
As a participant in the VSA, student-athletes will login in to their cohort's Google Classroom where they can access each day's pre-recorded video content from ESL teachers and SWB coaches. Our team of teachers and coaches has adapted each week's themes activities—Food, Soccer, Community, Technology, Olympics—into 9 age appropriate levels and English based language level. Throughout the summer, SWB coaches are delivering 'kits' to each student athlete with the materials for exploration activities, academic workbooks, and daily wellness logs for tracking fitness, nutrition, and mindfulness sessions.
Much of the design of the Virtual Summer Academy is inspired by Soccer Without Borders Baltimore, which in a typical summer runs intensive programming at the city and county level, including the International Summer Academy. This summer, SWB is committed to supporting our participants across the USA to stay active and continue learning. A positive impact of this reality is that now the Virtual Summer Academy will be available to SWB participants in each of the locations where we operate: Baltimore, MD; Boston, MA; Greeley and Aurora, CO; Oakland, CA; and Seattle,WA.