The club, with 136 members, has been providing a fun and safe shelter for children, ages 6 to 15, since mid-January and was celebrating its successful introduction to the county.
However, as the school year winds down, the staff is starting to think of summer and how to fill the hours for an all-day program.
This summer, the new Carroll County Boys and Girls Club will be hopping with activities, said E. J. Vereen, executive director at the club.
Based on current enrollment and the number of phone calls he is receiving, Vereen is expecting at least 100 kids to register for the summer.
“We’ll be open at 7:30 a.m., closing at 6 p.m.,” Vereen said. “We will have breakfast, lunch and a snack provided for the kids.”
And, in between, the club will be offering craft, educational, physical and character-building activities. Each week will have a theme. For instance, one week will be a computer camp, when the children will learn the basics of using a computer.
The club has a ping pong table and a pool table that the staff will teach all the children to play. The lessons will also include sportsmanship, part of the character education the Boys and Girls Clubs promote.
“I want to teach them how to play pool,” Vereen said. “Teach them the (strategies) of the game. Then, that way we can hold pool tournaments.”
Including the sportsmanship training will head off any problems of kids being sore losers or ungracious winners, he said.
He is also planning to give the kids dance lessons.
“Tell the boys dance and they kind of shut down, but we’re looking at it as a step team,” Vereen said.
Some of the activities will be based on what the kids request. He will be surveying them to find out what they want to do this summer, so planning will continue even after the session starts.
Vereen is also planning field trips for the students about once a week. He plans to take them skating, bowling, maybe a trip to Atlanta, but it’s still in the planning stages.
“We haven’t got our field trip schedule together yet,” he said. “We’re still working on that.”
Part of the difficulty in planning is transportation. Transportation has been a problem for the club since it opened. There were 136 students signed up at the club this school year, but an average of about 74 were able to get to the facility after school.
The Carrollton City Schools system provided a bus to bring students to the club after school and after that filled up, the First Baptist Church loaned it a 15-passenger van to pick up the students who wouldn’t fit on the bus.
“We had about another 40 kids that we pick up on the van,” Vereen said. “We do about three trips. Two to the elementary school and one to the middle school every day.”
The club is planning to lease a couple of 15-passenger vans for the summer, but they will accommodate less than half of the expected students.
“We still haven’t got that problem worked out,” Vereen said. “We’re looking to see if we can get a larger school bus or something that will house more kids. Can’t do shuttling from here to Atlanta.”
He is also considering staggering the trips by age, maybe taking one group to an activity on Tuesday and another on Thursday.
Even during the summer, the club will provide time for the children to work on educational activities including computer time.
“When they come in here, maybe the first 20, 30 minutes time frame will be doing something educational on the computer,” Vereen said.
The club has 10 computers, so the children rotate from reading or some other educational activity to the computer. That allows all children computer time, but it also makes them try a variety of learning activities.