Location Change for Back to School Bash

LOCATION CHANGE for Back to School Bash
With rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for tomorrow, we’re changing the location of the Back to School Bash to indoors at New Bethel Baptist Church (221 43rd Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201), just a few blocks from Arsenal Park. The time is still the same: 11 AM to 1 PM. Sadly, we won’t be able to fit a bounce house in the church, but you can still count on all the rest of the fun programming you love: facepainting, kids activities, food, music, sign ups with local schools, afterschool programs, and community providers–and of course FREE BACKPACKS! Child must be present to receive a backpack. Please help us to spread the word!

Location Change for Back to School Bash

LOCATION CHANGE for Back to School Bash
With rain and thunderstorms in the forecast for tomorrow, we’re changing the location of the Back to School Bash to indoors at New Bethel Baptist Church (221 43rd Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15201), just a few blocks from Arsenal Park. The time is still the same: 11 AM to 1 PM. Sadly, we won’t be able to fit a bounce house in the church, but you can still count on all the rest of the fun programming you love: facepainting, kids activities, food, music, sign ups with local schools, afterschool programs, and community providers–and of course FREE BACKPACKS! Child must be present to receive a backpack. Please help us to spread the word!

Summer Camp Parent Orientation – Meeting Notes

Did you miss the parent orientation on 6/15 for the Lawrenceville Summer Celebration day camp at the Boys and Girls Club? Don’t worry – here are the notes from the meeting below. If you have any questions, please feel free to contact the Boys and Girls Club at (412) 682-4013 or Lawrenceville United at (412) 802-7220.

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Welcome & introductions20 families were in attendance

  • Dave Breingan is the Youth and Families Program Manager for Lawrenceville United. He explained history of the partnership between LU and the Boys and Girls Club around the summer camp. LU supports the Boys and Girls Club by organizing field trips, making connections for programming, getting the word out, and providing scholarships to local families. Office: 412.802.7220 / Email: Dave@LUnited.org.
  • Jon Daugherty is the director at the Boys and Girls Club talked about how camp and enrollment at the Boys and Girls Club continue to grow, and that camp is going to be even better this year, with lots of activities.
  • Bea Webb from the Boys and Girls Club is the assistant director and she welcomed everyone.

 

What we heard from parents & outcomes from that – Dave explained that a parent focus group was held in March to get feedback from summer camp families about how to improve things for this year. Dave reviewed what the main things were that came out of that feedback, and then described what outcomes were achieved for this summer camp related to that.

  • Parents had said they’d like to see less screen time
    • The Boys and Girls Club has added new games to the game room as an alternative to video games, including an arcade basketball throw, a ping pong table, new foosball table, and more. They’re also adding to their board games collection and would welcome parents donating any board games.
    • There will be additional art time this year.
    • The Boys and Girls Club is also building more outdoor time into the schedule and adding more outdoor programs like gardening in the Lawrenceville Organic Community Garden in Allegheny Cemetery, as well as tours in the cemetery and more.
  • Parents had asked for more communication
    • Jon will be making weekly Facebook posts on the Lawrenceville Summer Celebration Facebook page (facebook.com/LUSummerCelebration) in the beginning of each week to let parents know what the schedule looks like for the week and what things parents should know as they send their kids off to camp each day.
  • Parents had asked for the return of cards to manage sign in
    • Cards will be restarted this year for sign in only, as they aren’t permitted to use the cards for sign out. The Boys and Girls Club noted that kids often lose these cards, which are expensive and timely to remake, so suggested that parents come in to sign them in and then hold onto them, if they know their kids are prone to losing things. There will be a $5 charge to remake the cards, because this has been such an issue in the past.
  • Parents had noted that they’d like to see more training and support for the staff
    • Boys and Girls Club will have more counselors this year than last year, despite having fewer kids.
    • Hired people with experience to work with 4/5 year old group.
    • Boys and Girls Club got rid of less competent and less professional counselors from last year.
  • Parents had suggested utilizing connections to neighborhood community groups for activities/programming
    • Groups that are coming in one or more days to offer programming this year include: police, firefighters, Allegheny Cemetery (tour), Unplanned Comedy (improv games), Garden of Mind (yoga), Bike Pittsburgh (biking programming), local fitness groups, the library, Citiparks Tennis, Timbeleza (Brazilian drumming), Children’s Hospital’s EmpowerMe4Life program (healthy habits education), a local DJ (dance party), and the community gardens. More are being worked on.
  • Parents had asked for the continuation of special/themed days
    • Boys and Girls Club has created a theme for each week. Special days each Friday will center on the theme.
  • Parents had asked for a list of supplies that they could donate to the camp to keep costs low
    • Sun screen (spray preferable), board games, glue sticks, school glue, black markers, paper bags, paper plates, toilet paper, paper towel rolls, and various clothespins.
  • Parents had asked for opportunities to volunteer with camp or to attend field trips
    • Parents are welcome to volunteer this summer but because of new state laws they need to complete:
    • These typically take weeks to process.
    • If you have any questions about how to complete, contact Dave at LU.
  • Parents had asked for more field trips
    • North Park pool every Thursday
    • 6/22 – Carnegie Science Center – 50 kids
    • 6/29 – Aviary – 50 kids (younger)
    • 6/29 – Beechwood Self-guided hike – 68 kids (older)
    • 7/6 – Zoo – all kids
    • 7/12 – PNC Park Tour – 82 kids (ages 5+)
    • 7/12 – First Tee Golf clinics
    • 7/15 – Frick Park – all kids
    • 7/20 – Allegheny Cemetery
    • 7/27 – Heinz Field Tour – 75 kids (ages 6+)
    • 8/3 – Phipps Conservatory – all camp
    • 8/10 – Heinz History Center – 30 kids, ages 9+
    • 8/11 – Pittsburgh Pirates game – all camp

General information about summer camp & scheduleJon reiterated some of the things Dave said, stressing that they’re committed to providing more outdoor time and excited to have so many field trips and extra programs/activities this year.

  • Additional activities/programs not mentioned by Dave include Brain Games and Afterschool Buddy.
  • There will again be 4 groups, broken down by age. Right now they are structured 4-5 year olds, 6-7 year olds, 8-9 year olds, 10-13 year olds, but this could change depending on how many kids in each age group there are.
  • Payment is due for each week at the end of the day on the previous Thursday. Example: Week 2’s payment is due at the end of the day on Thursday during week 1.
    • Boys and Girls Club is being directed to not accept cash anymore, so please pay with check, credit card, or money order.
  • Scholarships are available through Lawrenceville United
  • Attire
    • Please do NOT bring kids in flip flops – tennis shoes are preferable b/c with all the running and activities, kids can get hurt in flip flops
    • Goggles are a good idea to bring on pool days, but North Park has special regulations around what kind can be brought – can’t be the ones that have the shields over mouth/nose and can’t be snorkels.
      • Also pool doesn’t allow floaties or pool toys to be brought in
    • Often are a little late with traffic coming back from North Park pool on Thursdays, so OK to show up at 4:15 or 4:30 PM instead of 4 PM.
    • Parents are encouraged to send their kids with a little spending money on pool days, so kids can buy drinks and snacks.
      • Suggestion: $10
      • Can give in envelope to front desk with kids name on it if don’t trust kid with holding on to it in the morning.

Library announcementsBonny Yeager from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Lawrenceville branch on Fisk Street introduced herself to the audience as the new children’s librarian at the Lawrenceville library.

  • Programming every week starting week 2 of camp, either at the library or at the club.
  • All kids will get a library card, but need to complete application (see attached). Fine forgiveness is available if needed.
  • Pushing summer reading program to encourage kids and adults to read over the summer. Reading books will enter for grand prize drawings.
  • Question: “Need to have library card on her to check out books?” Answer: Usually can look people up in the system even if they don’t have the card on them, but they have strict privacy rules, so kid will also need to give address/phone. Having a card on them is easiest, and encourage using a lanyard to keep kids from losing, but don’t punch hole on the barcode of the card.

 

Q&A was held with parents

  • “What’s the food menu?”
    • Food will be provided by Earthen Vessels Outreach again this year. They make all the food fresh and on-site at their facility in Friendship and provide hot lunches. Boys and Girls Club doesn’t have a menu for each day yet but can share with parents once it’s received.
    • If your child is a picky eater, it’s perfectly OK to pack a lunch.
    • Also encouraged to bring in snacks, but please try to avoid peanut butter and other foods that are common allergens.
  • “Will sun screen by reapplied during pool trips?”
    • Yes and that’s why we’re asking for spray sun screen as a donated item b/c it makes it easy to apply/reapply on the kids.
  • “If my child is on medication, can that be administered by club staff?”
    • Yes, can keep it behind the front desk. If child is too young to remember to take it themselves, come talk to Boys and Girls Club staff to get a plan together.
  • “What is the breakfast?”
    • Offered only for extended day campers and is typically cereal, milk, and juice.
    • Regular camp gets only lunch and afternoon snack
  • “Are there lockers for the kids at the North Park Pool?”
    • Kids get changed in the locker rooms then they go to a designated area in the grass where they keep all the summer camp stuff together. Staff doesn’t keep track of every kid’s item and every year someone forgets their shirt or some other article.
    • Kids are encouraged to show up to camp on Thursdays with their swim suit underneath clothes.
  • “Why North Park Pool instead of one of the city locations that’s closer?”
    • All of the Boys and Girls Club have a contract with that location, so it’s set up through central office b/c they get special deals.
  • “Do counselors come into the locker rooms to help the little ones get changed if needed?”
    • Yep!
  • “How many lifeguards are at the pool?”
    • About 8 or 9 at the pool, plus all the Boys and Girls Club counselors keeping an eye on the kids as well.
  • “Can older kids go in the deep end?”
    • Must pass swim test with Jon first.
  • “Are volunteer clearances OK if they’re from another organization?”
    • Yep!
  • “Can bring water bottles for kids on pool days and other field trips?”
    • In general, most of the places explicitly prohibit bringing any food/beverages from the outside, so probably best to avoid this.