Helping children grow academically, socially and emotionally

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Spy is

Over thirty-five years ago, Summer Program for Youth (SPY) was created with a mission to help children in our community grow academically, socially and emotionally over the summer.

For eight weeks in June, July and August, families with children entering grades 1-3 in the Carlisle Area School District have come to rely on SPY to provide their kids with a safe, nurturing environment, sustained nutrition and educational and memorable experiences that promise to enhance their learning, social and emotional skills.

While at SPY their children’s confidence soars with every academic accomplishment and new talent unveiled.  Being cared for by compassionate and encouraging adults bolsters their self-esteem and resilience.  These eight weeks give SPY campers the ability to dream.

A SPY camper is a student who is recognized by their school counselor as a student who would benefit from extra academic and social support during the summer and needs stability and security while not in school.  They are referred to SPY for our quality, multidimensional programming known for helping children learn and grow.

Studies show a direct correlation between academic performance and household income levels as access to fewer resources may hinder a student’s chance of success.  SPY is offered specifically to children of income constrained families in our community and is free of charge so all children that would benefit from our program are able to attend.

SPY was founded in 1986 as an outreach program of St. John’s Episcopal Church. Since then, with the support of the United Way and community contributions, and in response to the growing needs of our children, the program has expanded. SPY is now an independent 501(c)(3) organization and is not a religious-based program.

  • Academic Enrichment
  • Social and Emotional Growth
  • Whole Child Focus
  • Memorable Experiences
  • Fun!

Academic Enrichment

Our staff of certified teachers and college education majors provide daily learning experiences in reading, writing, math, creative expression, movement, science and music.

Social and Emotional Growth

Learning has many dimensions and developing social and emotional skills has been proven to advance academic performance.

A daily emphasis on positive character traits, interpersonal skills and emotional management techniques along with the influence of caring, encouraging adult role models cultivates social and emotional growth.

Whole Child Focus

Academic success is greater when the health and wellness needs of a child are met.  The security of a stable daily routine, regular physical activity and the provision of two nutritious meals and a snack give SPY campers the opportunity to thrive.

Memorable Experiences

Fun and educational weekly trips broaden the children’s horizons and create cherished memories that last a lifetime.  In addition, exposing children to a variety of experiences advances reading comprehension skills as real life knowledge is applied to make inferences and draw conclusions.  Reading enjoyment increases as material becomes relevant and relatable.


Camper’s smiling faces and eager attendance each day make it clear that SPY makes education entertaining and FUN!

The Need is Growing and so is SPY

Currently there are 492 children entering 1st-3rd grades in the Carlisle School District that live in income constrained homes and qualify for free and reduced lunch.  This means that 492 students would most likely benefit from attending SPY.  In addition, this year of virtual learning with access to fewer resources has placed these children in a disadvantaged position compared to their peers with negative ramifications for their future.

The crucial need for SPY is growing.

Unfortunately SPY cannot possibly take all 492 students this summer, but we will have two locations allowing us to serve up to 100 students.  Plans are also in the making for a “mini-spy” program to be offered three days a week from 8am – 12pm which will allow us to engage up to 50 more children in our community with enriching activities.

You make SPY possible

SPY is provided at no cost to the families we serve to remove the financial barrier to participation.  Since we do not charge a fee, our ability to provide quality programming is dependent on the generosity of our community. We are extremely grateful to the United Way for their contributions that cover nearly 1/3 of our operating expenses. The remainder of our budget comes from St. John’s and other churches, civic organizations, and individual donors. Your contribution in any amount helps SPY achieve its mission and offer children in our community the chance to succeed!

Donate to SPY

Approximately $187 per child per week or $1500 per child for the summer is spent providing an enriching and fun summer program that increases the chance of success for children in our community.

Help make a difference in a child’s life by donating via our secure Paypal link, or by mailing your contribution to the address below.  SPY is a registered 501(c)(3) non-profit organization and all donations are tax deductible.

Summer Program for Youth

PO Box 612
Carlisle, PA  17013

Donate Now


The use of volunteers helps keep administrative costs to a minimum.  Volunteers provide behind-the-scenes support, read aloud to campers, and assist the kitchen manager at meal times.  For information about how you can become a SPY volunteer, please fill out the form below.

Board Member

The Board of Directors for Summer Program for Youth serves as a volunteer governance and fundraising body for the organization.  We are looking for individuals with a passion for making a difference in the lives of children and who are willing to share their time and talents with us at monthly meetings and assist with various projects as needed.  

Book Reader

Sign up to share your favorite book, or a book selected for you, with a group of young children and show them just how engaging and fun reading a book can be!  Our volunteer readers are so important!  Reading aloud with children strengthens literacy skills, introduces new vocabulary, and models what fluent, expressive reading sounds like.  Volunteer readers read for 30 minutes with each of the two reading groups for a total of one hour.  Counselors remain with the group and monitor behavior so you can relax and enjoy the time making a difference in the lives of children.  

Kitchen Helper

Campers at SPY are fed a nutritious and delicious lunch every day while attending camp.  Volunteers are needed to assist our Kitchen Manager with the preparation of the food, serving the campers and cleaning-up after the meal.  Volunteers can sign up for one or all three of the kitchen assignments and can expect to help for about 90 minutes per task.  Two volunteers are needed per kitchen assignment so sign up with a friend!

Food Delivery

SPY has grown to multiple locations with a central Kitchen at St. John’s.  Help is needed to deliver hot meals to children at our other sites.  

Our Leadership

Jeanna SomExecutive Director

Deborah Sweaney Board Chair

Robin OrnerSecretary/Treasurer

Sue BaxterBoard Member

Tim HoyBoard Member

Sarah MerrittBoard Member

Tanis MonroyBoard Member

Linda Myers Board Member

Cynthia Stratton Thompson Board Member

Liz TothBoard Member

Monique WallaceBoard Member

Judy WheatonBoard Member


Thank you so much to our generous sponsors who make our program possible:




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