By BGCFL Junior Staff member Renee Mercier
Sentinel & Enterprise
August 16, 2015
When asked their favorite part about the club, the campers said everything from sports to science. Rowan likes art the best. “We can paint, draw, and we even made little puff balls out of yarn.” she explains.
“My favorite part about the Boys and Girls Club is spending time with my friends,” Tora says.
The younger age group, the Sprouts, has the campers who are 4 to 7 years old. They do many activities, all of which revolve around a central theme each week. During Ocean week, they made jellyfish and painted shells in art. In Pirate week, campers had to search for buried treasure hidden across the building.
During Zoo week, campers learned how to make clay and sculpt it into animals. In Space week, they read books about space and even made their own rocket ships.
Sam, a Sprout in the Summer Blast, says that the program allows him to “do things I had never done before, like learn to play four square and other sports.”
The older age group is for campers ages 8 to eight to 13. This group has more choice in activities. The campers register for special programs each week from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.
and after lunch pick an activity to do each hour.
There are many options, such as science, sports, engineering, archery, baking, art, 3D design (CAD) and printing, Humanoid Robot, Lego building, Junior Ranger, Summer Brain Gain, nature walk, biking, and computer science.
The garden program allows campers to learn to grow and harvest their own food. The garden always provides many fruits and vegetables for the children (and staff) to enjoy.
Another program that has to do with healthy eating is Healthy Habits. The program is all about eating right. The program even got most of the kids to like spinach, a feat I thought impossible.
Healthy Habits “teaches you to eat healthy,” Analiah explains. She said that it showed her how to turn healthy foods into delicious dishes like salsa.
Analiah was also the winner of our archery tournament. “It was my favorite experience this summer,” she told me.
Another program provided is learning Java. Two members of java club and his friend explain what the activity is.
Summer Blast also offered older campers the opportunity to learn Java, a computer programming language.
“Camp at the Boys and Girls Club was a good introduction into the world of Java,” said one of the campers.
“We learned the basics of Java in the week that we had. We built some programs such as one to find all the leap years within a time period and a coin flip program to simulate any number of coin tosses. We are inspired to do more Java on our own time now that we did this camp and do more programing camps at the Boys and Girls Club.”
The Boys and Girls Club also provides something for teens. The Junior Volunteer and Junior Staff programs give valuable work experience for teens ages 14 and up. It is not only a job but training for jobs in the future.
We teens are still allowed to have fun while we work. Our work sites were not only the Club but also Fitchburg Mayor’s Office, Fitchburg DPW, Fitchburg Art Museum (FAM), and the FAM/Sentinel and Enterprise Alphabet Project, and McDonald’s. Some of our members who graduated from high school in the last two years are college students now and are still active at the club, volunteering during the after- school program; they were placed at Rollstone Bank and Community Health Links.
A few Junior Staff, including myself, spent a day volunteering at the Fitchburg Art Museum with Junior Staff who had job placements there. We helped organize crafts and helped people of all ages express themselves. On our break, we got to hear African drummers preform, had our faces painted, and of course looked at the beautiful artwork around us.
The Boys and Girls Club Summer Blast Camp is a fun experience for every child. Though camp is now over, we offer many exciting programs all year. The after-school program for children and teens begins Sept. 8.
If you are interested in anything the club has to offer, please contact www.bgcfl.org, call 978-534-8358, or come visit at 365 Lindell Avenue, Leominster.