Just like that, 11 weeks of an action-packed summer come to a close. We enjoyed every minute with our kids this summer. We are certain they had some incredible experiences and made some lifelong memories.
Having these young students participate in enriching programs over the summer helps close the achievement gap of their more affluent peers. Hikes with park rangers, court house and factory tours and museum exploration all are learning opportunities for our members. Without the club, many could be home alone while their families are working.
We closed the club and summer with a fun field trip to Shane Park with an unusual, surprise stop at McDonald’s for happy meals.
The afternoon held a school supply raffle. All kids that attended received a raffle ticket and throughout the day we drew numbers and gave away lots and lots of back-to-school prizes, including Seahawks lunch boxes, water bottles, glitter pens and decorative pencils.
We buttoned up the building for a couple days and did some deep cleaning and organizing, and spent a day with the staff inspiring them for the new school year. Staff had a session on leadership styles and another on program assessment. They learned how to evaluate their own programs and program areas and those of their peers. The end goal is to provide the optimal club experience for our members.
The Magic Treehouse Books has main characters Jack and Annie on adventures through their backyard treehouse. The two encounter many animals on their trips, and this week our campers’ activities were centered on animals.
Campers created tiger stripe art, made lions out of doilies and held their own “Gorilla Olympics” with cargo net and rope climbs in the gym.
They also spent a morning learning about Arctic animals and blubber. They made their own artificial blubber, and experimented dipping their hands in ice water with and without the layer of insulating blubber. They played freeze tag and made some polar bear pictures by ripping tiny pieces of white paper and gluing them into bear faces.
An amazing group of teens joined us for morning camp this summer. They volunteered their time helping staff with activities, crafts and managing the younger children. To reward them for spending the extra time in the club helping out, teen coordinator Conner and Unit Director Dave took them to Lake Sutherland for a day of play and jet ski rides — something many of them don’t have access to on their own.
Our kids don’t like the end of summer, the end of good weather and the end of trips to the national park. Getting out on the trails and beaches, canoe rides and swims all came to a close.
Our Junior Rangers had an amazing summer and built lasting relationships with Rangers Ben, Callie and Molly. We had a celebratory barbecue at Bovee’s Meadow where Rangers had grilled burgers and dogs before they each were awarded their badge and patch for successful completion of the program.
We have kids already looking forward to participating next summer and some anxious younger siblings and club members ready for their turn.