Local club staying busy this summer

Published 8:57 pm Monday, June 11, 2018

VALLEY — While some kids use summer time to enjoy some peace and quiet, the ones who take part in the Langdale Unit of the Boys and Girls Club will spend every day learning, playing and interacting with their peers.

The mantra of ‘If you dream it, you can do it’ echoes throughout the Disney-themed daily activities carried out by children from kindergarten to ninth grade that come every week day for eight weeks during the summer.

The kids arrive at 7:30 a.m. every day and have breakfast before gathering for the assembly that alerts them to the day’s events. From there, they break into groups that will rotate through activities, each one teaching the kids something new.

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Arts and crafts, character education and science, technology, engineering and mathematics — known as STEM — classes are done in exciting and fun ways. With last week’s theme being focused on the animated Disney film “Lilo and Stitch,” which is set in Hawaii, the STEM class made volcanoes out of clay that they were able to make erupt in multiple colors.

The exercises aren’t just mental either, there are plenty of physical activities alongside the educational classes.

“It’s not all about basketball and free play, we try to find creative things for our kids to do outside of the normal sports,” said Langdale Unit Director Kimberly Dozier. “We also talk to kids about healthier lifestyles and healthier snacks. We teach them how to ask their mom for fruit instead of junk food or fast food.”

Children in the summer club events even learn activities such as gardening. The class teaches them the structures of plants, how to grow them and which conditions help them stay strong.

“The group has already started to grow corn,” Dozier said. “We are trying to find another area to put it all in before it gets even bigger.”

Dozier said that she and the rest of the staff want the kids to use their summer months to better themselves and continue their education.

“I want them to have a great club experience,” she said. “Kids come here looking for different things, some come to get out of their shell if they’re anti-social, some don’t have anything else to do. I want them to come here and get a chance to make new friends, have fun with science, technology, engineering and math, I want them to be creative and I want them to be themselves.

“The people here should bring out the best in every child who walks through our doors, and that’s one of my passions, bringing out the greatness and the good in every child.”