Camp Proximity & Beyond Enhances Learning After School

Chelsea Penney
May 25, 2023

Students who attend traditional brick-and-mortar schools are offered a variety of after-school clubs to enhance learning and encourage social development, but what about students who have adopted virtual learning?

After-School Enrichment for Virtual Students

Camp Proximity & Beyond is a new initiative that gives online students the opportunity to meet peers with shared interests and enrich their learning, virtually. Separated by age group, clubs include subjects like art, yoga, creative writing, drama, escape rooms, video games, and pets. 

Students meet virtually for three weeks to interact with their grade-level peers from across the country. Each club is led by a certified teacher who organizes student-led activities centered around their interests to incorporate topics they may not get enough of in the regular classroom. 

Incorporating Social-Emotional Learning

Regular meeting times allow students to form relationships with different virtual teachers and students from all over the country. They get to know one another and interact with shared hobbies.

This program has been highly successful with over 200 students participating in its inaugural week. The virtual nature of the program especially attracts students enrolled in online schools, introverted students who feel more comfortable interacting from home, and students who want to participate in school-sponsored activities but can’t. Camp Proximity & Beyond extends enrichment options to families.

Virtual Escape Room Club

Educators who teach online from home are equally eager to participate. They pitched their ideas to share talents with students by hosting the clubs. Live virtual teacher Nicole Potthast leads the middle school escape room club. She explains, “Virtual escape rooms have become quite popular. Based on brick-and-mortar escape rooms, where players have to solve puzzles to physically escape the room generally in one hour, virtual escape rooms present students with themed puzzles and problems to solve in order to move to the next level.” 

She continues, “Often created on Google Forms or Slides, the players cannot move on until they enter the correct answer. Many of the same puzzle types used in real escape rooms such as codes, riddles, and logic clues, are used in virtual escape rooms too.” 

To incorporate academics, Ms. Potthast explains, “Escape rooms are great tools for content review, critical thinking, and teamwork. So far participants in the club have been escaping from themed rooms of their choice, many created by public libraries and on the web for free.”

When we asked what’s next for the club, she says, “For camp week in June, participants will have the opportunity to create their own virtual escape room using templates provided. It's been a lot of fun to run this club for Proximity's kiddos!”

Enrichment Options for Families

Students and teachers are both enjoying the interaction the clubs foster. One family said, “A huge thank you for Camp Proximity and Beyond. Just wanted to say a huge WOW! How awesome are all these clubs that have been put together? We are very excited and so grateful. Thank you all so much for being so thoughtful. The offerings are wonderful. We are very excited!”

See more from the Proximity & Beyond series here.

about the author
Chelsea Penney

Chelsea Penney earned her Bachelor of Arts degree in Writing from University of Colorado Denver and her Masters of Science in Marketing from Texas A&M University Commerce. She loves living in Austin, TX and working on the frontline as Content Marketing Manager for Proximity Learning.

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