EITC Process: Entities authorized to do business in Pennsylvania who are subject to state tax can receive tax credits equal to 75% of their contribution up to a maximum of $750,000 per taxable year for donations made to approved Educational Improvement Organizations (such as Valley Youth House). Tax credits increase to 90% of the contribution, if the business agrees to provide the same amount for two consecutive tax years. Tax credits may be applied against the tax liability of a business for the tax year in which the contribution is made.
Summary: Valley Youth House has been approved for EITC to support two educational camps for youth ages 8-17 at the agency-owned, 43-acre Camp Fowler, in Orefield, PA: 1) Adventures in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics)—a STEM focused Adventure Camp, and 2) Adventures in Arts—an art based Adventure Camp. Both programs are aligned to enhance Pennsylvania School Standards. Each week-long, overnight camp (10 AM Monday through 11 AM Friday) will take place at the camp that features woods, a stream, wetlands, and recreation facilities comprising six cabins that can accommodate over 80 people overnight; a multi-purpose building with commercial kitchen; ballfields; swimming pool; climbing tower with zip line; adventure-based high and low ropes courses; an amphitheater with a fire pit; hiking trails, and garden. Adventure-based camps such as Camp Fowler offer ideal informal learning environments where youth are provided with experiential opportunities to transfer learning to life outside of a formal educational setting.
Informal learning that takes place outside the classroom setting has been shown to develop critical thinking skills that promote student success and engagement. Without the impediment of grades, youth are more inclined to take risks by trying something new. Each weekly session will enroll 30-40 campers. Youth will be identified through schools, county agencies, street outreach, and linkages with multiple youth service agencies. Potential campers will comprise homeless youth, foster care youth, and youth from low-income families. The camp programs will include transportation, meals, and any clothing or supplies campers might need to participate. While such overnight camps cost in excess of $1,200, there will be no charge to participants, thus leveling the playing field by offering these youth experiences usually available only to their peers from higher-income families.
Adventures in STEM: Valley Youth House is partnering with the Wildlands Conservancy, whose outreach educators will provide hands-on, informal STEM education, combined with therapeutic adventure-base experiences throughout the week. Through exposure to STEM fields, youth could have a potentially life-changing experience, directing them to an interest in a field with higher earning potential, helping to level the playing field for educational advancement, to attain better jobs and break the cycle of poverty.
Adventures in Art: Valley Youth House Art Therapist, Elyse Coldren, will provide on-site arts experiences. Youth will not only create art—they will have the opportunity to see exhibits and performances, giving them a well-rounded exposure to the arts. Through this camp, youth will delve more deeply into the world of the arts, helping to pique their interest for future exploration in and appreciation of the arts
Christina J. Schoemaker, SVP Development & Marketing
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