Free Virtual Summer Camp Reinforces Healthy Habits


Common Threads hosts free virtual Summer Camp to reinforce healthy habits and encourage summer learning

To help students and families mitigate the “summer slide,” Common Threads is offering a free, two-week virtual summer camp for approximately 200 rising fourth, fifth and sixth graders.

Consistent with Common Threads’ mission, the camp will include cooking lessons while also featuring activities that support wellness, including yoga, dance, mindfulness, reading, and art. The schedule includes a family cooking class that encourages parents and guardians to participate. Participants will receive free “Camp At-Home Kits” that include groceries, cooking supplies, physical activity equipment, a T-shirt, and more.

The camp will be offered to five cohorts of students and will run for three hours per day for 10 days (Mondays-Fridays). Instructors and camp counselors will lead the groups of 12 at a time, with special guests lined up to teach some of the lessons. Guest instructors include:

  • Chef Art Smith (Common Threads co-founder & board president; TABLE Fifty-Two, Art and Soul, LYFE Kitchen, Southern Art, and Bourbon Bar, Chef Art Smith’s Homecomin’ and 1500 SOUTH Restaurant & Bar; CEO, Art Smith, LLC)
  • Chef Michelle Bernstein (Common Threads board member, Café La Trova, Michelle Bernstein Catering)
  • Chef Jernard Wells (Haute Cuisine)
  • Gail Simmons (“Top Chef”, Food & Wine magazine)
  • Chef Timon Balloo (Balloo)

With students across the nation facing the likelihood of continued virtual education in the fall, the summer camp has been designed to support learning in core academic subjects.

“Common Threads’ virtual summer camp gives children and families the opportunity for summer enrichment at a time when there are so many limitations in place due to COVID-19,“ said Stephanie Folkens, vice president of programs for Common Threads. “The program design not only provides fun activities for campers, but also infuses experiential learning throughout the program to help set children up for success in the coming year.”

Students have been pre-selected for the camp from Common Threads’ school and nonprofit partners. On-demand content will also be made available for children to participate on their own at no charge at

The camp is generously supported by the Walmart Foundation, Quaker Oats Company, Mariano’s, Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and the Culinary Arts, Change Happens Foundation, FMI Foundation, Seeds of Change, Griffith Foods, 84.51, Starkist, Giant Eagle, PepsiCo, and the Chicago Blackhawks.

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