Recognizing Summer Learning and Fun

Boy with microscope

Our Power Scholars Academy is a finalist for a National Summer Learning Association (NSLA) 2019 Summer Learning Award!

Each year, the NSLA recognizes the outstanding work done during the summer months on behalf of our nation’s youth. According to the NSLA, candidates for the Summer Learning Awards are exceptional summer programs, models, and systems that keep children and youth learning, safe and healthy during the critical summer months. They show strong outcomes in helping students cement the skills they have learned during the academic school year through creative curricula, unique programming and effective family engagement strategies.

The Power Scholars Academy™, an initiative by YMCA of the USA and BellXcel, is in its fourth year, providing rigorous, small-group academic instruction with high-quality camp-like enrichment and community engagement activities. We’re proud to again partner with the City of Syracuse Parks and Recreation Department and our donors to provide this program at no cost to third through fifth grade students. Y staff, who are trained and supported by BELL, deliver the program at Kirk, Wilson, Burnet and Schiller Parks in the city of Syracuse for who are struggling academically and who lack access to summer learning opportunities in their community.

Breakfast is provided in the morning followed by a community activity. Teachers then lead 90 minutes of literacy instruction followed by 90 minutes of math instruction using a customized curriculum developed by Scholastic. Teachers and scholars then eat lunch together, followed by an enrichment block of physical activity or a guest speaker or project.

In the afternoon, scholars participate in the drop-in Parks and Recreation program. During this time, children engage in enrichment activities, including chess, community service projects, cooking projects and physical activity. Scholars have participated in programs with Apple and Microsoft, undertaken service projects and have been able to meet both former Mayor Stephanie Miner and current Syracuse City Mayor, Ben Walsh. 

The Power Scholars Academy™ program is part of a variety of academic enrichment programs offered by the YMCA of Central New York, including tutoring, academic support and low-cost SAT/ACT prep courses. For more information on these programs, contact Director of Education Alicia Roberson at 744-4420 or or visit