Editor’s note: This is the first of a weekly series of activities happening at the Boys & Girls Clubs of the Olympic Peninsula. For more information, see posi- tiveplaceforkids.net or call 683-8095. — MD
Summer is off to a good start and last week was our first full week of all-day programing. Mornings commence with our morning camp, where participants pay a modest $15 a day or $65 a week for an action-packed morning, before free lunch and when the club opens to all members at noon at no charge.
It’s an Expedition through time this summer and members will spend a week in various time periods and decades learning, food, dress and games from the time period with lots of arts and crafts specific to the theme.
This week our morning campers traveled through the dinosaur age. They made their very own dinosaur poop, T-Rex posters and miniature terrariums. They gathered together to watch “The Good Dinosaur” and the week culminated with a trip to the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture. The members spent the day touring the museum digging into fossils and dinosaurs. They enjoyed the exhibit on “Life and Times of Washington State” from glaciers to reptiles, they marveled at the natural forces that shaped our landscape and, on exhibit at the museum, a partial skull of what’s likely a Columbian mammoth found along a bluff near Sequim.
This summer Brain Gain is back in full swing! In the upcoming weeks members will be learning about fish, the solar system, balloons and a gamut of things to keep busy hands and young minds occupied. This week kicked off Reptiles.
The attendance averaged about 30 kids, primarily 6-9 years old. They dove right in and learned about reptiles and all of the different shapes and sizes they come in — which naturally tied into our first week of morning camp and the dinosaur age.
After group discussion of the different types of reptiles and characteristics, kids made posters of a specific reptile of their choosing noting facts about them. They then measured themselves and compared their height to the length of different snakes and lizards. The kids were amazed to learn about Titanoboa, a prehistoric snake that was 48 feet long, it was a size beyond anything they could imagine. We expect upcoming modules to be much like this when filling this summer with crafts, games and other great activities to provide academic enrichment over the summer break.
The Active Trails Program is a community engagement program designed to positively impact parks, partners and participants. Olympic National Park (ONP) was awarded funding to engage youth from the Sequim and Port Angeles clubs in a series of recreational adventures in ONP.
Each week, the Junior Rangers go on a field trip led by park rangers. The program is in its third year and this summer will include participants to return in leadership roles.
Rangers visited the club and held a kick-off meeting where all the kids were given their summer backpack and instructed on basic rules and safety for their upcoming adventure weeks. The boys and girls will visit parks of years past with a new experience, maybe a new trail or swim.
Our growing population of middle school youth are in good hands this summer, with our program and room leader Emily Lege. The kids have a designated area in the club to gather and be with kids their age.
Activities for this group of young adolescents are planned by them and a they have designed themes for each week of summer break and a majority of the activities.
Last week they followed a sports theme, and although it rained a lot and canceled their tennis plans, they did get to partake in several indoor options.
By week’s end the clouds lifted enough that they could walk to Carrie Blake Park and try the sport of fishing. The group of 13 kids had a lot of luck and all but two returned to the club with a trout from the popular fishing hole.
Feeding the Future
We had a successful launch to our Summer Lunch Program and have just completed our first week serving USDA approved meals to all children under age 18. In Sequim we serve lunch from noon to 1 p.m., not only at the Boys & Girls Club but at Elk Creek Apartments, Mountain View Court Apartments and at Carrie Blake Park. The program’s success is attributed to the community service model coordinated by program leaders. If it weren’t for community involvement, a program of this size, feeding free lunches to Sequim (and Port Angeles) children, would not be obtainable. Again this year the faith communities and civic organizations help us keep costs low and a nutritious meal available for those in need. Children are enjoying the lunches served and continue to come out for tasty wraps, pasta salads, chicken and a small prize in their lunch bags.