Ready to Learn: United Way Brings Back In-Person Kindergarten Countdown Camps

RICHMOND, Va. (June 21, 2021) – Building off the success of its 2019 pilot camp and following a shift to virtual in 2020, United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg will host eight Kindergarten Countdown Camps this summer in schools across Powhatan, Goochland and Dinwiddie. The expansion will empower more than 100 young children and their families to succeed in kindergarten this fall.

United Way’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp is a free summer learning program for rising kindergarten students with limited or no preschool experience. Taught by licensed teachers, Kindergarten Countdown Camp prepares students and their families for a successful start in kindergarten. Participating students receive breakfast and lunch, a new book each week and a backpack full of school supplies. Additionally, all families with children enrolled in the camps will receive a free registration to United Way’s new Ready4K program, a text service that provides age-appropriate facts, easy tips and opportunities for growth to boost their child’s learning by building on existing family routines.

“It’s no secret that schools, students and families will face an enormous challenge this fall as we all work to recover from the pandemic,” said James Taylor, president and CEO of United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg. “Kindergarten Countdown Camp boosts readiness at an important point in young children’s education. This program equips kids with the skills necessary to learn and thrive and closes gaps for students with limited or no preschool experience.”

With more limited options available this year than normal, this program will play a uniquely important role for school districts. In the United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg service area, one in six students enters kindergarten without the skills necessary to succeed. United Way lists kindergarten readiness as one of its nine Steps to Success, the organization’s framework of nine key milestones on the path to prosperity.

2021 Kindergarten Countdown Camp locations include:

Date: July 6-29
Location(s): Midway Elementary, Sunnyside Elementary, Dinwiddie Elementary and Sutherland Elementary
Number of Classes: 4
Date: June 28 – July 29
Location: Goochland Elementary
Number of Classes: 2
Date(s): June 21 – July 1, July 12-22
Location: Powhatan Elementary
Number of classes: 2

For families outside of the participating camp locations, materials from United Way’s 2020 virtual Kindergarten Countdown Camps are available online. Families interested in utilizing the online learning materials will find lessons on numbers, letters, shapes, colors and building social emotional skills, among other things.

The process for selecting Kindergarten Countdown Camp participants will vary by school. Districts will use Kindergarten Registration Day data to inform participant selection.

For more information and updates about United Way’s Kindergarten Countdown Camp, visit yourunitedway.org/kcc.

About United Way of Greater Richmond and Petersburg

United Way of Greater Richmond & Petersburg empowers individuals and addresses systemic problems to provide everyone with a clear path to success. We do this by conducting research, funding programs and organizations, driving systems-level change and engaging with individuals in 11 localities across the region. Learn more at YourUnitedWay.org.