The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club Summer Fun Club is in full swing as the annual program engages local youth both mentally and physically while students are on break from school until August. Offering members an entertaining summer experience with their peers that is rooted in enrichment and educational activities, the Summer Fun Club is led by professional summer counselors and staff members across the state of Delaware.
A typical day at camp begins with open play and athletic activities while teaching kids health and life skills. Children then move to educational groups as they visit the computer labs and the literacy circle. They also develop social and artistic skills by engaging with other kids during youth development activities and arts and creativity time. This year, the Club has a strong focus on reading as it has continued to challenge kids with classroom activities even after the final school bell rang in June.
Going into seventh grade at Milford Central Academy this year, Reyonna Osbourne is enjoying her third year at Summer Fun Club. She admits that if it were not for this program she would be at home sleeping and not being very active. “[The counselors] make being active and exercising fun,” said Osborne. “We play dodgeball and kickball and I get the chance to meet new friends.”
Boys & Girls Childcare Director Derek Savage facilitates programing for the Summer Fun Club. Starting out as a volunteer for the organization during past summers, Savage enjoys not only spending time with the kids but the energy they bring everyday. “There are so many kids and they bring so much energy. There is a multitude of activities and there are so many kids with the potential to be great,” said Savage. “It is hard to have a bad day here.”
During their time at the Club, Savage teaches kids accountability, teamwork and to have fun. “I teach them that regardless of the situation they come from, the need to understand that thier own actions will drive their future,” said Savage. “I also help them understand that they can forget the small, negatives things going on in their life and just be kids and have fun.”
As of July 1, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club has registered over 165 school-aged children and 25 pre-school children. A good challenge to have, Director of the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club Tod VanEyken states that it has been exciting to see so many kids take full advantage of the mental and physical activities that the Milford Club has to offer. Celebrating seventh years in their new location this past January, the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club includes a full-size gymnasium and the Richard Y. Johnson Aquatic Center, which is home to the Milford High School Buccaneers Swim Team, the Club’s own Milford Marlins Swim Team and is the only Boys & Girls Club in Delaware to offer swimming scholarships through the Michael Phelps Foundation.
“It is rewarding to teach the kids how to swim. You know you are saving a life,” said Aquatics Director Sarah Ziccarelli Smith. “Water is a great equalizer and levels the playing field. They have to put a lot of trust into you to help them learn how to swim.”
In addition to computer labs, art and activity rooms inside the Club, children enjoy the benefits of being located directly next to the Can-Do Playground, a playground that hosts children of all abilities, and the Tony Silicato Park, a City-maintained park that hosts several soccer fields and a frisbee golf course. The 2016 Summer Fun Club at the Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club is currently underway until late August, Monday through Friday from 6:30 am to 6:00 pm. There are three age-based programs at the Club; Preschool ages 3-4, Summer Fun Club ages 5-12 and Teen Program ages 13-16. The weekly rate for the program is $117 per child. Sibling discounts are available and scholarships are available upon application approval. The Greater Milford Boys & Girls Club is located at 101 DE Veterans Blvd., Milford, DE and can reached at 302-422-4453 or online at www.bgclubs.org.
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