Boys & Girls Club ready for school year

Club offers many programs for students

August 23, 2012 

Mountain Area children have returned to school this week and the Boys & Girls Club of Oakhurst will provide a positive and safe place to be after school with proven programs and fun activities.

"For more than 12 years, our mission has been and will continue to be to serve our communities' children, especially those who need us most," said Rima Runtzel, board president.

The hours of operation of the club, located behind Oakhurst Elementary School, are Monday through Friday, after school until 6 p.m. The club will be closed the fourth Monday of each month for financial reasons.

In addition to free play and weekly drop-in activities, the following programs are offered:

Homework Power Hour encouraged

Club members are encouraged to complete their homework during "Power Hour" (2:30 - 3:30 p.m.) before they begin to play. In addition to "Homework Helpers," Power Hour offers tips for establishing essential communication with teachers and parents. Power Hour also provides incentives for club members, rewarding them with "Power Points" and charting their academic progress. .

Garden Project

An organic garden has been planted at the club to teach members about healthy nutrition through organic gardening, along with lessons on water and soil conservation, 4-5 p.m. on Mondays. In addition to lessons learned, the club members are looking forward to the end result of sharing the tasty rewards at harvest time.

Pre-teen triple play

Oakhurst's Triple Play program is funded by the Community Grant Program of the Picayune Rancheria of the Chukchansi Indians and the County of Madera.

Held Thursdays from 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. for pre-teens and up, Triple Play aims to improve young people's knowledge of healthy habits, good nutrition and physical fitness. The program is built on the premise that a healthy child is one that is strong in three areas: Mind, body and soul.

SMART Girls

In response to the growing need to provide young women with the necessary skills to "say no" to drugs, alcohol and premature sexual activity at an early age, the club has offered SMART Girls since 2009.

The goal of the SMART Girls program, held 4-5 p.m. each Tuesday, is to help girls develop healthy attitudes and lifestyles. The program helps girls make positive decisions at this critical stage in their development.

"We are pleased to have a program that improves relationships between young women and the older significant females in their lives. We think it's important for a young woman to establish a positive relationship with an adult female, a relationship that can foster self-esteem and a 'can-do' attitude," said J. Doss, club director.

CareerLaunch Wednesdays

CareerLaunch is Boys & Girls Clubs of America's career exploration and job readiness program for teens. Clubs are uniquely positioned to make a difference in the future workforce by providing members with opportunities to explore a variety of career options, to make sound educational decisions and to practice job readiness skills. The program is presented 3:30 - 4:30 p.m. each Wednesday.

Club Tech

Club Tech, Wednesdays 4:30 - 5:30 p.m., was created by Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Microsoft in 2000. By leveling the virtual playing field, kids of all ages now have access to the same resources and skills to help them discover their world, expand creativity, perform better in school and eventually take their technology know-how into the workplace.

Passport to Manhood

Passport to Manhood, Thursdays 4-5 p.m., is designed for young men, ages 11-14, and addresses such issues as ethics, decision making, wellness, fatherhood, employment and careers, cooperation and conflict, diversity, relationships and self-esteem.

During a graduation ceremony planned by the youth, the graduates present and recite a code of conduct and are recognized for taking critically important steps toward manhood.

Torch Club

This leadership development program, sponsored by Staples, is targeted to youth ages 11 to 13 and is held 3:30 - 4:30 each Friday. Within some 1,300 Torch Clubs across the country, members elect officers and plan and implement their own activities and community service projects. Each Torch Club receives an official charter from Boys & Girls Clubs of America.

The Oakhurst club is committed to enabling all children to participate in guidance and development programs. Club membership is $40 per week with waivers for qualifying families thanks to contributions from generous individuals and Mountain Area businesses.

Details: BGCOakhurst.com.

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