Kids on campus
Explo will be at Wheaton June 29 to August 9
This summer, Wheaton will be transformed from a college campus to a summer program for hundreds of youth involved in Exploration Summer Programs, or Explo.
The educational nonprofit will bring its academic residential and day programs to Wheaton for the first time this summer, after 20 years of being on the campus of St. Mark’s School in Southborough. Explo runs similar programs at Wellesley College and Yale University.
With summer building projects and renovations planned at St. Mark’s, Explo leaders began looking for a new location for their programs. Coincidentally, that’s around the time President Ronald A. Crutcher happened to meet an Explo Board of Trustees member at a conference. The two got to talking, and it seemed Wheaton might be the perfect fit.
As Explo Executive Director Moira Kelly wrote in a letter to parents explaining the move: “Both Explo and Wheaton value hands-on, project-based, interdisciplinary learning that promotes creativity and innovation. Like Explo, Wheaton is about exploring the liberal arts and celebrating close relationships among students and faculty.”
After Explo leaders toured the campus, the connection was confirmed.
“It really became obvious that not only did the campus fit their needs, but our curriculum is in line with their curriculum,” said Kristen Turcotte, Wheaton director of conference and event services. “It was obvious from the beginning it was a really good match.”
The mutually beneficial relationship gives students a great place to learn, families an opportunity to explore a college campus and provides work opportunities for Wheaton students as well as teachers in the Norton area, who are hired to assist with the Explo programs, Turcotte said.
Explo's flagship 360 Program, for day and residential students entering grades 4-7, began Sunday, June 29 and runs through July 19, with the second session running July 20 through Aug. 9. Additionally, Explo offers one-week day programs for grades 2-7, called Explo Mini, running weekly from June 30 through Aug. 8, and two-week Focus Programs (Explo Vet and Explo ER) from July 7 through Aug 1.
Students and staff will be living on the lower campus and using classrooms in Mars, Watson and both the new and old science centers as well as facilities at the Clark Center, Haas Athletic Center and other locations.
Courses and workshops offered by Explo range widely and include, among others: baking, basketball, broadcast journalism, business, ceramics, chemistry, construction, criminal investigation, digital photography, electrical engineering, fantasy writing, hovercraft physics, improvisational theater, intro to electric guitar, karate, kayaking, medieval battle, moviemaking, music video production, robotics, Web design, woodworking and yoga.
Photos courtesy of Explo