By NICOLE GRULKE
News Staff Writer
ALPENA - The Alpena Boys and Girls Club kicked off its summer activities Thursday with an orientation to the club and plenty of games for members. The club is planning several new summer programs this year in an effort to help students better retain the information they learned throughout the school year over to summer, and carry that knowledge into the next school year.
"We're starting a new Summer Brain Gain program, which is a reading, math and science program to help try and stop summer learning loss," Program Director Jen Digna said. "Our big focus is on reading and math, but we will have some science thrown in there too. Our goal is to stop that summer learning loss."
One of the reading programs the club will be using is a drop everything and read program.
"At some time during the day we're going to say "Oh DEAR" and that's the signal that club members will drop what they're doing and pick up something to read. We will have it set up so they can find magazines and books to pick up and continue reading, and we will read to the younger ones."
The goal of the Oh DEAR program is to have the members set their own total minutes goal, and reach that by the end of the summer.
"We'll start with a few minutes per day and gradually increase it over the summer," Digna said. "I'm really excited to start that program. We're going to have them keep track of the goal so they can see their progress."
Another program the club is doing for the second year in a row is wacky weather activities. This program covers everything from hurricanes to lightning and thunder and clouds.
"There's a lot of science learning in the activities," Digna said. "The kids really like learning about the weather."
The club will be doing plenty of arts and crafts activities, along with games and team activities outdoors.
"We have a (Michigan State University Extension) person coming in to talk to the kids about healthy snacks and healthy eating, hydration and exercise habits," Digna said. "We really want to take the members out fishing whenever we can this year. It's great to be able to teach them skills they can apply at home."
Directors are working to incorporate an anti-bullying program into the mix to try and combat bullying and teach the members how to recognize bullying and why it is wrong.
"We want to have teens tell their peers why it is wrong, and through this program we're hoping to have the students work as a team and pull together to combat bullying," Digna said.
June is Internet Safety Month, and Digna said the club plans to help show kids how to be safe on the Internet and what to look for as warning signs.
"We want to show them how quickly things online travel, and how easy it is to get information on the Internet," Digna said. "We're hoping to show kids and parents how to be safe on the Internet and protect themselves. We're also hoping to set up an example on our Facebook page of how fast information can travel with all the different social media."
The club also offers a lunch and snack for members, and are always looking for more kids to join.
"Parents can stop in any time and get applications to sign their kids up for the club," Digna said. "We always welcome new members, and it's great when people come in and get to know the staff a bit while picking up applications."
For more information about the Alpena Boys and Girls Club, or to ask about applying, call 356-0214.
Nicole Grulke can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 358-5687. Follow Nicole on Twitter @ng_alpenanews.