As a youth services programmer this year has been tough. Severe restrictions on space ensured an inability to fully engage and collaborate in person throughout the pandemic. This restricted access made it difficult to feel connected to the community my library sought to serve. In order to help bridge this gap, the Robert R. Jones Public Library has collaborated with the Village of Coal Valley’s Parks Department to provide Coal Valley's youth a fun-filled summer of possibilities through a revamped 2021 Day-Camp program.
Children need to be active every day to promote healthy growth and development. Kids who establish healthy lifestyle patterns at a young age are more likely to demonstrate those benefits as adults. With this in mind, boys and girls grades Kindergarten through 6th were invited to reconnect by engaging in fun, safe, and inclusive activities. The 8-weeks of free summer fun includes sports, arts, fitness, and outdoor activities traditionally offered at camp, with the following ideas woven throughout the camp experience.
- Environmental awareness
- Collaboration & team building
- Brain play
- Reflection & journaling
- Friendship & kindness
The program runs Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 9 a.m. to noon from June 7th through July 30th. Previously, the program averaged 20-30 participants, but word quickly spread that the library was organizing the program and at the start of the program’s third week; we have a total of 62 registered campers, with new boys and kids joining each day.
This is the first time in the program’s history that a collaboration has been formed, but with both entity’s missions being in alignment, it is a partnership that will continue to grow.