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‘Brain Gain’ at the B&G clubs
Summer learning loss has a devastating effect on the children in our community – especially those who are unable to participate in enriching summer activities. The loss of skills and knowledge during the summer affects all kids – especially under resourced children. In fact, learning loss is accumulative and responsible for more than half of the achievement gap between lower and middle income youth.
To address this critical issue, we at the Boys & Girls Clubs introduced a new program called Summer Brain Gain that already has been developed and tested. It is a fun, interactive learning program designed for summer in the Club. This thematic multi-level curriculum will add engaging, educational activities for all members primarily those kindergarten through fifth grade.
Since numerous studies show that most youth lose about two months of grade-level equivalency in reading achievement over the summer months, we plan to focus specifically on the reading components of this program.
Club members are enthusiastically attending Brain Gain each afternoon, the program kicked off with over 30 participants and we only expect it to grow from there. This week’s Module was “Team Me” — Members identified qualities that made them unique and special. They considered their relationships with family members and friends, and they learned different ways to express themselves — both verbally and non-verbally. The week featured the books “A Bad Case of Stripes” and “Ish.” Members studied their fingerprints, made a word cloud, a puzzle, painted a community canvas and organized a fashion show among many other individual and group activities.
“My Own Biome” members participating in our morning session (before noon) spent the week learning about our ecosystem. They kicked off the week creating their own biome. They had dirt everywhere and loved every minute of it. The members created Ocean Porthole — a beachscape inside a paper plate. Wednesday the youngsters made pet rocks and Friday they took a field trip to Carrie Blake Park. The morning includes more than just craft projects. Our youth development staff led group games and physical activity and worked in math and reading practice.
Our teens departed Wednesday for Lake Crescent. This is an annual summer tradition where our teen coordinator Luke Kisena transports teen room members to the lake. The youths took a picnic and spent time outside enjoying the shore and splashing around. The trip is the highlight of the members’ week as many teens are stuck at home all summer, without transportation themselves.
Members of our running Club were invited by Brooks the shoe company to their sponsored track meet on Saturday June 21. The invitational meet brings in elite high school runners from all over the country to compete and be seen by college scouts. The group of club members has been running weekly since May and for many it was an inspirational trip. Brooks not only provided running shoes for the Club but gave all their guests that day fun sunglasses and foam fingers. Thank you Brooks!
Clubwide members participated in National Olympic Day. Club Director Dave Miller organized a 3-on-3 basketball tournament where members played in wheelchairs. This decision was inspired by longtime club member Issiah who is confined to a wheel chair and a new club volunteer. No better way to include them than to have all participants shoot hoops from a chair. It was a fun new twist on the traditional sport and we can’t wait to do it again next year.