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Taking Advantage of Summertime


Op-ed for Week of July 15

By Lance Patterson, CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson


Kids playing Math Wars during Summer Brain Gain at Avenue A (Photo by Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson)

HUTCHINSON, Kan. — Summertime’s rising temperatures don’t just bring pool days and vacations for local kids, it represents an opportunity to ensure success is within reach for every young person. Especially as our youth grapple with the impacts and challenges exacerbated by the last few years, we can’t waste a single second in addressing their needs. Through caring mentors, innovative programming and an unwavering commitment to safety, Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson utilizes summer and after school programming to do whatever it takes to support youth on their path to a great future. But we can’t do it alone.

With youth spending as much as eighty percent of their time outside of school, access to out-of-school time programs can make a considerable difference in their lives now and in the future.

Decades of research shows that afterschool programs help kids learn, grow and stay safe. Access to quality and impactful afterschool programs is an economic and moral imperative for our state.

You can see our dedication to impactful programs each day:

  • This summer more than 500 kids and teens are enrolled. Each day is filled with chances to learn, build character, and play. An average day might start with math wars in the morning, racing airplanes after lunch, and end with a trip to the pool.
  • Each morning kids keep their skills sharp for the school year through Summer Brain Gain. At Avenue A, certified teacher Mary Rains has weekly themes that incorporate math, literacy and science.
  • Each week, younger members are learning to recognize and regulate their emotions through a partnership with Horizons Mental Health Center.
  • On her first day interning at Express Employment Professionals, Elena answered 26 phone calls. She’s honing her customer service and problem-solving skills while learning the basics of being an employee. This summer more than 30 teens like Elena are experiencing first jobs through our work-based learning program.
Work-based learner Elena answering the phone at Express Employment Professionals (Photo by Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson)

Through these environments, Boys & Girls Club staff create supportive relationships with youth, opportunities to try new things with high expectations for their success and recognize their growth and effort while also supporting their physical wellness through access to fun physical activities and nutritious meals and snacks.

Our youth are the leaders, innovators and problem-solvers of not only tomorrow, but right now! We help them develop the skills to identify issues in their community and create solutions to make positive change.

The need for these programs is at an all-time high. It’s on all of us to move the needle for youth in Reno County, creating real opportunity based on kids’ potential—not on the circumstances that surround them. Prioritizing and investing in out-of-school time not only leads to better outcomes for our kids, but also to a healthier, safer and more prosperous community. Lance Patterson is the Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson.