Schoolbooks are packed away and the last tests of the school year taken. During the next several days as many Limestone County children and parents make summer plans, so are the staff of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama.
Registration is under way for the annual summer program, which includes a number of academic, social and recreational activities for youth. The camp will begin Monday, June 4 and end Friday, Aug. 10.
Summer program fees are $25 per week at the Limestone County clubs and include a hot lunch.
The Boys & Girls Clubs will be open from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays.
Fees for early-bird arrivals start at 7 a.m. and are $2 a day. Those arriving at 8 a.m. cost $1 a day.
All teens attend free of charge and will receive a free lunch. Teens will also meet with other teens in the Boys & Girls Club of North Alabama every Thursday night for Teen Night. Teens learn money management, get help finding summer jobs, and are involved in a number of community service projects and more.
The clubs’ Safe Summer Festival will be held June 14. Suzanne Rainey, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama, said more than 12,000 kids will attend the event. “It’s going to be a big summer,” she said.
The club will also offer three field trips a week. Trips include skating, swimming, bowling, going to the movies and more. Field trips are not included in the price of the program, but are completely voluntary. “We will have plenty of staff and fun programs at the club for children that do not attend field trips,” said Tracey Guidry, unit director of the Athens Club.
Rainey said one new program offered this year is the Reading Academy. The academy is for students in kindergarten through the third grade. “It is to help get children who are not reading at their grade level, to start reading at that level,” she said. “We feel like this is so important for their academic year. They learn to read during K-3. From then own, they read to learn and that it where they sometimes get lost. It can be hard for them to learn their other subjects because they are not at their reading grade level.”
Rainey said, through the Reading Academy, certified teachers will determine grade levels and use materials at the club to help them not only get to their reading level, but also enjoy reading.
The Boys & Girls Club will also offer a kindergarten preparedness program this year known as FATE. It is for 4 and 5 year olds who will start kindergarten in August. The program, which starts June 4 and will run six weeks, is limited to the first 10 children who sign up and costs $40 per week.
“They learn the basics,” Rainey said. “Basic reading, math, writing skills and computer skills.”
The first Limestone County Boys & Girls Club was started in Athens in 1994 in the old gym at Athens Elementary School. The Athens Club moved to its current location in 1998. In 1999, the Ardmore Club was built. The Tanner Club and Teen Center was built in 2001. Rainey said there were 100 kids that first summer. Now the clubs average more than 350 students combined.
The Boys & Girls Club Summer Program was the first program put in place.
“It’s a lot of fun and I’m always glad to see them,” Rainey said. “I love, love, love to teach them to swim. I just think it’s so important.”
Guidry said she started in Athens last summer. “We had such a great, smooth summer,” she said. “The summer is great. It’s a lot of fun.”
Rainey said there is always a large need for supplies, and scholarships for children in families of parents who work, but cannot afford to send their children to the club. Contributions in those areas of need are welcome, as are volunteers. Rainey said she would love for people to volunteer and share their gifts such as art, teaching, and so on with children at the clubs.
For more information or to enroll in any of the Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama programs, call 256-232-4298.
Leaders & Legends
The Boys & Girls Club will hold its biggest fundraiser the third annual Leaders & Legends Dinner July 10 at the Von Braun Civic Center. The event will feature Alabama head football coach Nick Saban as the guest speaker.
For more information about the 2012 Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama Leaders & Legends Dinner, contact Boys & Girls Clubs of North Alabama at 256-534-6060.