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Learning Beyond the Books: Northbay Education foundation empowering thousands of students

Posted at 6:16 PM, Oct 20, 2021
and last updated 2021-10-20 18:24:13-04

Every week hundreds of students flood the campus of Northbay— unaware of the potential they’re preparing to unlock.

Some like Darnasia Hudson are only familiar with the camp’s reputation

“I heard it was a good place because my sister went there at one point,” Hudson said.

She’s like thousands of students so far blown away after taking it in herself.

Through her school’s partnership with NorthBay she spent time some quality time on the 100-acre campus on the shores of the Chesapeake bay diving into literacy, language arts, social studies and science in a way she’d never done before.

During the pandemic Darnasia like many students across Maryland struggled to make their transition to the digital learning world.

“It was really hard. Most of the time I had computer issues that I couldn’t really get help with but now that I’m back in school they can actually help me with that type of stuff that I needed help with,” she said.

For some students it’s the staff giving them the push and assistance they need— but also the opportunity to build lasting friendships with their peers across Maryland facing similar challenges.

“I actually made a lot of friends that I didn’t think would because some of the people like you can look at somebody and think this but then it’ll be a different thing. I have their numbers, their social media. I can call them whatever time I want,” added Darnasia

For 7th grader, Bentley Perando, it’s the environment created at North Bay that makes the difference.

“There’s different ways I can focus. It’s easier because it’s more calm here. There’s not car horns. There’s not many motors going off. Easier because I can hear the wind, the trees shaking,” said Bentley.

What Bentley is describing is the intended feeling the executive director Neil Dampier was hoping to create at North Bay, an atmosphere for focus, away from the noise.

We are leveraging our fantastic campus that we have here at the Elkneck state park, technology and using the outdoors as an integrating context to bring those things together to really impact the trajectory of their lives and school careers,” Dampier told WMAR-2 News.

He says through their partnership with the state of Maryland department of education they’re able to reach thousands of students per year at a crucial point in their career.

“So middle school students are really at this juncture in their lives where they are open to messaging. They’re starting to think a little bit about their future and understand the impact of their actions and attitudes on their futures and the people around them,” Dampier said.

Helping them turn the corner— and watching them connect what their learning in the books to their everyday life experiences.

Making an impact early on they're hopeful will last a lifetime, one Darnasia says she can feel and see first-hand.

“I went back home and started going to real school and it was awesome. My grades were going up. My mom was proud of me and I was also proud of myself because I didn’t know I could accomplish those things,” she said.