Out of the City and Out to Sea – Teens Learn to Fish

Part of the joy of being a teenager is that one’s sense of growing curiosity starts to align with one’s ability to be more independent. At the Club, we recognize that as young people move toward adulthood, they benefit from new experiences that help them develop skills, confidence, and autonomy.  

One program that focuses on broadening the horizons for youth is our “City Club.” In past years, our Teen Director Stephanie Urio has led trips to New York City once a month to allow teens to see and experience museums, theater, historical sites, and cultural events, many for the first time. Each adventure is designed to offer teens a glimpse of the bigger world and all it has to offer them. Ultimately, the trips inspire them to dream of a career or develop a new passion or creative interest.  

With the onset of COVID 19, we had to rethink our program. Knowing that this has been a difficult time for our teens, with many of the rites of passage for this group altered or completely cancelled, our staff did not want to give up on our wonderful City Club program. Instead, Stephanie took the initiative to adjust and to adapt to the challenges of 2020. So instead of City Club trips, this fall, the members will be participating in our “Out of City” Club trips on a monthly basis – focusing on all Long Island has to offer. 

Learning to fish is fun and builds confidence.

The first “Out of City” Club outing was a fishing trip out of Captree State Park. Fighting their preference for sleeping late on a Saturday, eight teens rose with the sun on September 8th to board a boat on the south shore and go fishing! For many of our members, this was their first experience fishingOur staff and the crew showed the kids how to bait their hooks and how to cast… and encourage the kids to have patienceIt was a beautiful day out on the water and the kids started a friendly competition to see who could catch the most fish. Senior Joe Valli’s patience paid off with the winning tally of five.

While it doesn’t look like any of the members will become fishermen, they were thankful for the opportunity to try something new and experience a Long Island tradition! 

Interactive ‘FUN’-damentals

Experiential learning is just more fun! With some of our area schools operating in hybrid or modified formats, many children are spending significant time trying to learn sitting at a computer screen in a remote environment. At the Club, we know that “Zoom Time” can turn into “Zoned Out” time, so we are taking every opportunity to give kids the chance to benefit from in-person and interactive learning experiences at our after-school programs 

Where Math & Measuring Meets Cooking Fun!

Every Wednesday, our members have the chance to join in on our famous “Kids in the Kitchen” program, where they learn basic measurements

skills while learning about dry and wet ingredients. (Just like parents sneak vegetables into chicken nuggets… we sneak in a little mathematics into our cooking fun)The kids were delighted with the first project of the season: making Rice Krispies treats with a spooky twist for Halloween.  

Sometimes combining games and learning can be just the ticket: the sense of a little competition makes learning more fun. For kids in Kindergarten through Second grade, our K-5 Youth Development Director Carlos Pumar added a little competitive spirit for completing math worksheets. All the kids who correctly completed their math worksheets earned three tickets to “spend” at our “recognition store,” where kids can trade in tickets for novelty prizes and gamesKids with incorrect answers were given the extra help they needed to learn the concepts and get their tickets, too. 

Whether its math or reading, the Club always finds a way to connect with kids and make learning fun. 

Efficacy & Efficiency: Ensuring the Safety and Impact of our Programs

At Grenville Baker, we are ready to help kids kick off the school year in a safe and productive way!  This Monday the 14th, we opened our doors to 130 kids across our three off-site locations (while our renovations continue).

Knowing that hybrid and remote learning creates new challenges, all of our staff are focused on ensuring that kids stay on track to do well in school and realize their full potential. Each day after school, the kids enjoy a snack (prepared at home for safety), and then spend an hour (Power Hour) focused on homework. This routine teaches kids to prioritize their responsibilities and gives them a sense of consistency — which is dearly needed when every other aspect of life seems uncertain.

To keep kids healthy, we have modified and added safety protocols according to CDC guidelines to all our program spaces. These measure include:

  • All members and staff wearing facial coverings when in our facilities
  • Daily health screenings, including temperature checks
  • Promoting social distancing through redesigned spaces and visual cues
  • Keeping groups small and static, so that children can participate in programs in their “home base”
  • Frequent sanitation and disinfecting in our facilities
  • Teaching and encouraging consistent hand hygiene
  • Reducing access to parents and other adults inside our facilities

In this “new normal,” we understand that by keeping kids healthy, we can continue to welcome them into the Club to benefit from our mentorship, social connections, and engaging activities…not to mention the fun and games when the hard work of homework is completed!

At Grenville Baker, we understand how important it is for kids to feel like kids, and we are dedicated to preserving the joy of childhood through these difficult times.

Engagement and Exploration: Developing Young Minds in our New Normal

Grenville Baker Boys & Girls Club is committed to providing children of all ages with activities that keep them engaged and learning.  With programs like “Art with Amanda” and “Science with Seth,” children have a place where they can share a sense of wonder and excitement, as they embark on life’s journey.

Making Slime in our “outdoor lab.”

This summer, our camp experience took kids on adventures big and small…from painting flower pots, to playing games, to making slime, our youngest kids explored their creativity and curiosity.

For our elementary and upper elementary school children, we also provided opportunities to discover our surrounding area, thanks to a series of nature excursions with volunteer Hon. Dave Gurgerty,

The teens also did their bit of exploring, capping off the summer with a bicycling adventure to Block Island, a destination that is rich in both natural beauty and history.

Indeed, on a beautiful summer day, the teens rose early to head out to Montauk to take the ferry to Block Island. When they unloaded their bikes, they headed to town for lunch overlooking the harbor, and then set out for a ride to explore the Mohegan Bluffs and enjoy a spectacular view of the lighthouse. Afterwards, they ventured down to the beach to relax and cool off in the ocean.  The day closed with the quintessential summer experience: ice cream!  On the way back to the Club (and before they all fell asleep) the kids reflected on what felt like a “normal” day of adventure…a huge accomplishment in the age of COVID-19.

After a series of uphill rides, the kids enjoyed the trip downhill to the beach!

We are so proud to have given our Club kids a FUN summer memory! As we head into the fall, the Club will maintain its commitment to finding new and creative ways to keep kids engaged and exploring, while keeping them safe.