Reading, PA—Every summer Olivet Boys & Girls Club opens its doors to youth ages 6-14 to participate in an eight-week fun-filled camp program. This year was no exception; the organization had over 900 youngsters enrolled in camp at 8 locations in Reading and Pottstown. Summer camp allows local youth to keep busy and participate in safe, fun alternatives.
From June 20 through August 12, children were able to enjoy summer learning activities, arts and crafts, a variety of sports, music programs, and so much more. Campers were served breakfast and lunch daily too, courtesy of the Reading School District and the summer feeding program. There were over 24,000 meals total distributed to Club kids this summer.
The camp offered weekly themes to keep the children engaged and excited. This year, the themes included Who’s Who, Ops, Around the World in 5 Days, United We Stand, Christmas in July, Splish Splash, Mad Scientist, Olivet Got Talent, and Go for the Gold, Olympic Week. Each week’s activities were focused around these themes including “getting to know you” icebreaker activities for Who’s Who week, “goo” experiments for Mad Scientist week, snowman snacks for Christmas in July, and a mini version of the Olympics for Go for the Gold week.
Every Reading Club site took weekly trips to Blue Mountain Camp (BMC) in Hamburg, Clinton Street Pool and R/C Reading Movies 11 & IMAX. Our Pottstown Club was also able to enjoy BMC, as well as unique partnerships with Pottstown organizations, MOSAIC and Art Fusion.
Olivet’s BMC enables inner-city youth to experience a different kind of fun in an environment that many of them are not familiar with. At BMC, the Club kids participated in fishing, canoeing, archery, hiking, swimming and other outdoor activities. Trips to Clinton Street Pool allowed the campers to learn to swim, play water games, and beat the heat.
Olivet Boys & Girls Club formed a partnership with Jamestown Village Day Camp run by Pastor Jeff Bell. The day campers from Jamestown were able to cool off at Clinton Street Pool. The organization also welcomed community members to utilize the pool for several hours a week.
RBI (Revitalizing Baseball in Inner City) baseball and softball programs were also offered to Olivet summer campers. The prime purpose of these programs is to re-introduce, revive, and rebuild interest and participation in baseball and softball among underserved youth. Approximately 70 boys and 60 girls participated in the programs. Several teams were organized amongst the Clubs and players were able to practice and scrimmage all summer long at Gordon Hoodak Stadium.
Some campers had the opportunity to learn the game of golf as well. The First Tee aims to impact the lives of young people from diverse backgrounds by providing life skills education as part of golf instruction that promotes positive values, physical skills and sportsmanship. Campers had the opportunity to golf at Manor Golf Club and Sittler’s Golf Center.
At the PAL Center for the Arts, Club kids had the opportunity to partake in theatre camp. Thirty children kicked off the summer participating in a two week music emersion program sponsored by the Reading Musical Foundation. At the end of the two weeks, the campers put on a show, called “Face the Music”, highlighting everything that they’ve learned. The rest of the summer was dedicated to practicing for the end of summer performance. The campers celebrated the end of summer with a free public performance of James & the Giant Peach Jr.
In addition to summer camp, Olivet runs a 21st Century program for six weeks. This year there were 128 participants. The 21st Century program focuses on Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) education. Members learned about robotics, engineering with balloons, Newton’s Third Law of Motion, fingerprinting, chromatography, and were even taught how to extract DNA from strawberries.
Approximately 70 ResCare workers and 38 AmeriCorps Community Builders provided the organization with additional helping hands at each Club site. The ResCare and AmeriCorps programs allowed older youth to spend their summer working while making a positive impact on the lives of younger community children.
As summer comes to a close, Olivet Boys & Girls Club is looking forward to welcoming youth ages 6-18 into the Clubs for after-school programming. The Club’s programs focus on the areas of education, recreation, peer leadership, prevention programs, performing arts, and physical fitness. Club members learn and enhance skills, receive homework help, and interact with trained staff and volunteers who serve as positive role models and mentors. For more details about Olivet Boys & Girls Club or to download an application please visit our website at www.olivetbgc.org.