The Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia reached more than 6,000 students in Glynn County last year. And every summer, the program opens its doors to students ages 5 to 18 for a summer camp that keeps the students engaged during their time out of school.
The program, which has nine locations in Glynn County and will soon open its 10th, hopes to also be on the forefront of supplemental literacy education for local students.
The club not only partners with Glynn County Schools and other community groups working to promote literacy, but also offers numerous programs within its centers that help students improve their reading skills outside of the classroom.
“Literacy is obviously huge for us,” said Brooke Parmelee, director of development for Boys & Girls Clubs of Southeast Georgia. “One of our main goals during the summer is for the kids not to lose what they learn in school … That way, when they return to school in August they haven’t lost what they learned and they’re not behind.”
In the summer camp program, which runs Monday through Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., students rotate through a variety of activities that include coding in the computer lab, playing educational games, art projects, reading and more.
These activities keep the students sharp, Parmelee said, which in turn helps them in their academics.
“Here in Glynn County, they read on levels,” she said. “We want to make sure that they are continuing to read on that level, so when they go back in August they haven’t lost a level.”
The Boys & Girls Club has also used The Brunswick News in past summers to promote literacy education among students and to engage them in local news.
“These kids need to know, current event-wise, what’s going on,” said Parmelee, who plans to sign up the club again this year for the Newspapers in Education program, so that copies of the newspaper will be delivered twice a week for students in the Boys & Girls Club program to use.
The club plans to open its 10th local location soon in a wing of the former Burroughs-Molette Elementary School. The center will be located directly beside the recently constructed new school.
The Boys & Girls Club worked with the school system to preserve one wing of the old school, the rest of which was recently demolished. The new center will serve around 400 students and replace the center at McIntyre Court, which the club plans to transform into a literacy center for 3-year-olds.
This community prioritizes literacy education in many ways, Parmelee said, and the Boys & Girls Club hopes to play a role in that effort.
“Literacy is huge in this area,” she said. “We want to be part of the solution.”