Preparing for the Summer: Boys and Girls Club Summer Programming
Written by Alyssa Wilson, University of Lynchburg Bonner Intern
Summer is around the corner and with that comes summer vacation for local children in the Greater Lynchburg area. At SHARE, we are launching a summer camps landing page where camps and day programs will be available in one place, along with organizations who offer scholarships for their programs so that all children are able to have a place to go.
This week, SHARE Greater Lynchburg sat down with Senior Director, Antonio Steadman, Workforce Development Director, Claudio Otero and Teen Director, Derrick Parham, to discuss the summer programming that will be take place at The Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg, a local organization whose mission is to provide what children need in order to succeed.
SHARE: Tell me about the different programs that will be available to families in the area this summer.
Steadman: Alright, let’s jump into the programs!
Triple Play is a program based on both sports in general, but also incorporates the game room. They have game tournaments like Smash Brothers and Mario Kart. It includes basketball, baseball, football, you name it.
This program is for boys and girls of ages six to eighteen that is able to be put on because of the Centra Health Grant. It’s based on exercising and learning to eat well , which leads into our next program, Healthy Habits.
Healthy Habits is a really big program that we have in the summer. We have master gardeners that come in and the kids love to go and work in the garden. Of the food that is grown, we get most of it back. One time we took the potatoes and made french fries. When there’s extra vegetables we get to send them home with the kids or anyone in the community can come grab vegetables that go from tomatoes, corn, peppers, you name it.
Passport to Manhood/Smart Girls
This program is based around teaching young men and women how to conduct themselves and gives them an open platform to talk about things that matter to them. Whether it be about drugs, sex, religion, culture, it’s a way of getting connected and having a safe place to ask questions. At the beginning of the program they write down everything they want to talk about and then we arrange it, and that’s what becomes our agenda.
SHARE: If a kid wants to attend all of these programs, does their family have to pay separately or is it all included?
Steadman: All of the programs are scheduled on a weekly basis. So if you’re in Smart Moves you can be in Passport to Manhood and so on, as well. Kids have a tendency to be drawn towards the programs that they’re most passionate about so it tends not to be a problem. We’re also able to tune the program differently depending on what the kids are saying they want. A kid can come up to me and say, ‘Oh, this is boring’ or ‘Why do we have to do this thing’, and then we’re able to switch it up so that they’re enjoying everything.
SHARE: What do the prices look like for these programs?
Otero:It’s $10 per kid, and then if parents have more than one child, it’s only ten additional dollars. So you could have 20 children but still only pay $20 altogether to put your kids through summer programs.
SHARE: What are some of your greatest needs right now so that you’re able to continue these programs?
Parham: Right away I think about volunteers and transportation for kids.
Steadman: Since COVID our numbers for volunteers have really been down, and we need to get them back up. I’d like to get our reading program up and running again, and we’re getting there, but we need more volunteers in order to really make it happen. We’re noticing how good kids are with technology, but not as good at reading, so that’s a need.
Funding is a big necessity too. Right now we’re trying to get funds so we can the kids a recording studio where they can come and record music and express themselves through music. I’ve noticed a lot of kids are really drawn to that.
SHARE: Is there anything else that you all want to add that I haven’t asked?
Steadman: Just that at the end of the day, we’re more than a club, we actually are closer to family. These kids almost look up to us like aunts and uncles now. Some people base their programs success off numbers but I like to base it off how many kids are coming in and sticking with it. At the end of the day it’s more of a connection with the staff than it is about the program itself.
To learn more about upcoming programs or to volunteer you can visit the Boys and Girls Club of Greater Lynchburg’s SHARE profile.