The man who orchestrates summer and extended care programs has worked at Prairie since high school.

Jake Lipor, Director of Summer and Extended Care Programs, has a long history with children’s programs at Prairie. He began working here when he was 16-years-old in the extended care program. “I absolutely fell in love with it. When my parents picked me up on the first day they asked how the day was and I said I can’t believe I got paid to play soccer.”

He continued to work at The Prairie School during college, and when he graduated was offered the opportunity to take over the extended care program. He went on for his Master’s in Business Administration and was asked to lead Prairie’s Summer on the Prairie program in 2016.

Lipor has always known he would work with children. “I remember being younger in school, always picturing myself working with kids. I didn’t know at that time what it would be, but when I started working here I just fell in love with the culture, the mission, with the student-centered aspect of Prairie, and never wanted to leave.”

During his 12 years here, Lipor’s focus has consistently been on children’s needs. “The younger kids have such an interest in exploring and I think that’s what I try to prioritize is learning through exploration; having that free time to play with a friend, and create a rocket ship out of Legos, and build a fort out of giant foam and wood blocks, or running around outside playing soccer.”

Summer on the Prairie has steadily grown under Lipor’s leadership. Around 40 summer camps were held in 2016; this year, more than 60 are being offered during the eight week program for students from Pre-Kindergarten through 12th Grade. 

“This is the biggest year I’ve seen for registration and I already have some classes that are full and some families signing up for a waitlist.” 

Lipor has had parents drive from as far away as Lake Geneva and Waukegan, Illinois to attend Summer on the Prairie. “They will drive every single day because we’re the best in the area,” Lipor says. “Kids have more fun here than any other summer camp.” 

In addition to overseeing the extended day program and Summer on the Prairie, Lipor is also a Middle School Advisor.

Click here to learn more about Summer on the Prairie

Getting to Know You is a feature that highlights the behind-the-scenes people who make Prairie special.