First of several reports by Boys & Girls Club teen intern Lucy Norton on the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s summer programs.
By Lucy Norton
LEOMINSTER — Our first week has started up again here at the Boys & Girls Club of Fitchburg and Leominster’s Summer Blast program.
We’re very happy to be back after a long school year, with lots of fun activities with a great group of kids. The Sprouts and Juniors are beyond ecstatic for another great summer here at the club with their favorite staff and friends.
We have some extra-special activities that we are especially excited about this summer. One of our main activities is called “Recycled Rodeo,” a volunteer-based program by our own Jerry Beck, who helped us with our toasted-bread art last summer. Jerry had our kids’ artwork featured in the American Visionary Art Museum’s exhibit called “Yum!”
This summer, we are working on a project in which the kids use natural products, such as recycled items and items from nature, and make them into something new. Our featured items are three huge sculptures that the kids are now decorating and are on display in front of the club for the community to admire.
The first week, they covered the products in tape but the following week Jerry will be bringing in donated fabric from Jo-Ann’s Fabric for the kids to tell their own stories by cutting out pictures and pasting them onto the sculptures.
Our three main sculptures are a dragon, a bird and a giant head.
The dragon has mythology-themed stories on it because of the creature’s significance to fantasy. The bird has stories on it that relate to flying and of the kids’ dreams and aspirations. And the giant head has portraits of the kids made of fabric on it. The community will be able to see these beautiful creations as they evolve.
Jerry tells us that when the kids were working on the sculpture Tuesday, they saw an eagle flying over their heads and believed it was a sign that they were doing good work with their project!
When I asked Jerry’s daughter, Georgie, where her father got his inspiration for this project, she said he comes up with them in his sleep. Sometimes he will wake up and just tell Georgie what he dreamt of, and then they will get to work on how to make it happen.
Jerry has some volunteers from the Sizer School in Fitchburg helping him with this project. One of them, Hannah, tells us her favorite thing about the project is that “we are making beautiful things out of things that some people would not consider beautiful.”
This ties into Jerry’s philosophy for the whole project, which is “turning garbage into gold.”
We take lots of pride in our special activities like Jerry Beck’s, but that’s not all we have going on for the Juniors. Throughout the week, we have great activities to help the kids’ minds continue to work over the summer, including Summer Brain Gain, Economics, Coding and even the Science of Sports. They learn the importance of social skills by participating in programs like Boys Circle and Girls Circle, which are activities in which our Juniors can get together to talk about issues in their lives and address questions they have.
They get in touch with their artistic side in Drawing, Painting, Zentangle and Art. And there are also activities to get the kids outside and having fun, such as Nature Walk, Baseball, Archery, Wiffle Ball, Soccer and Kickball.
This past Thursday, our kids headed out to Camp Collier in Gardner for their weekly field trip. They swam, canoed, made sand castles on the beach, and got to play some soccer and basketball. While the kids were playing basketball, they discovered a bird’s nest in one of the hoops, got some of our staff and successfully rescued the nest and the baby birds inside it.
There were lots of arts and crafts at camp, too. Our Juniors got to make some bracelets and necklaces that they wore home. They have had a lot on their plate this week and are looking forward to another four more fun-filled weeks here at the club.
While the Juniors are exploring this amazing art project and other great activities, our Sprouts are having just as many opportunities for fun and learning. The theme this week for the Sprouts is “Weather Around Us.”
Our 5- to 7-year-olds are exploring and examining important questions, like why the sky id blue and why some clouds look different than others, while learning about different types of weather, the water cycle, the days of the week and even natural disasters. They are doing all of this through observation, play and direct instruction.
The daily soccer clinic offered by Goals Youth Soccer in Lancaster is teaching the kids how to play while having lots of laughs and smiles. The nutrition cooking class was a great experience to taste some new and yummy foods while learning about nutrition and how to eat healthy!
The Sprouts learned important things in activities like social skills, gardening science, exercise and little scientist. They had lots of fun in activities like computer fun, dance, sports and Lego design.
We are always looking for new campers to come in and enjoy the fun with us. If you or your child would be interested in a fun-filled summer of learning and excitement, visit www.bgcfl.org/summer or come see us in person at 365 Lindell Ave.