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This Summer, Keep Kids Learning

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By Lance Patterson, Chief Executive Officer of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Hutchinson

 

Summer is a critical time for Reno County youth as they aim to make up for the impact of interrupted learning and developmental disruption of the past few years. Boys & Girls Clubs take full advantage of the summer and afterschool time to keep our kids learning, growing and above all having fun!

It’s why we keep kids’ minds engaged in the summer with programs like Summer Brain Gain, which lets kids learn through discovery, creative expression, and group work. Is summer science more fun when you’re making solar ovens and cooking s’mores in them? We think so.

Zoo intern
Photo Credit: Boys and Girls Clubs of Hutchinson

Teens also use the extra summer hours to apply the workforce skills they’ve learned. This summer we placed 16 teens with internships at our Clubs, the zoo, USD 308 food service, and Express Employment. Local businesses and ARPA workforce development funding made these learning experiences possible.

We don’t just engage kids and teens’ minds in the summer, we also support their mental health needs through mentoring and social emotional learning. This summer, Horizons Mental Health Center has come to our elementary site weekly to lead activities on things like recognizing and regulating our emotions—life skills that all kids need.

But we can’t do this work alone.

We need the support of our elected officials and community to keep doing what we do best: ensure every child who enters our doors has access to key programs, mentors and experiences that give them the tools they need to define their own success. The pandemic set our kids back academically and developmentally while also severely impacting their mental health.

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. Our young people are the promise of tomorrow. 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 nation.