To help kids overcome learning loss and recover from the stress of last year, two neighbors are organizing weekly in-person summer camps this July at Northridge Presbyterian Church.

At Camp Northridge, students can choose from different options, including theater, cooking, robotics, art, music, athletics and more. The “edutainment” camps will combine educational opportunities with fun activities.

“Kids slide a little backward over the summer,” co-organizer Laurie Bret said. “We try to make it more like camp and less like school, but learning certainly does happen.”

All children will stay in their pod and follow Centers for Disease Control protocols.

The camps will take place at the Northridge community center, which opened just before the pandemic last March. A soccer field next to the center will also provide a space for kids to play outdoors.

“There has been a hole in the market to bring summer academic enrichment to kids in East Dallas,” co-organizer Lynn Granello said. “Several area schools have cut back or temporarily closed summer camps. This new facility at Northridge offers a space that is clean and safe. That’s been underutilized up until this point.”

The camps are suitable for ages 4-10. The organizers hope to accommodate up to 280 children. About 40 of those children will be on scholarship. The women are working with the church’s mission committee and its partners, such International Rescue Committee and Literacy Achieves, to identify those children.

Half-day camps cost $250 per week, and full-day camps cost $400 per week.

In addition to summer camps, church members invite the community to use its newly built pickleball courts. Reserve a court by emailing

“We’re not allowing ourselves to wait until the pandemic is over to figure out who we want to be and how we want to serve the community,” the Rev. Betsy Swetenburg said. “Right now, connection in person is so desperately needed. Providing space for people to play together, it’s a gift we can offer because we have the resources.”

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