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PLAYING BOARD GAMES AT EMMANUEL COMMUNITY earlier this summer were (left to right) Stuart Hanson, Lauren McDougall, Pearl Momb, and McKenna Ramsey.

Making new friends

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When school lets out for summer, you would think activities at the Boys & Girls Club in Detroit Lakes would start to slow down a little -- when in fact the kids are kept busier than ever.

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From June 2 to Aug. 20, summer camp participants at the club were doing arts and crafts, computer lab and games, and a variety of outdoor recreational activities, such as a Frisbee golf tournament.

But they also spent a lot of time on field trips -- to the Humane Society of the Lakes, where they get to pet the cats and kittens, dogs and puppies; tours of Central Market, the Detroit Lakes Library, Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge, Sucker Creek Preserve and the Becker County Museum; golf outings at Ironman Golf Course and fishing trips with Let's Go Fishing.

"The kids are busy when they're here," said Tahnee Moe, the club's program director. "When we plan our summer camp we look at different areas of the community where we think they would like to go."

Among those places chosen this summer were Diamond Willow Assisted Living, Emmanuel Community and St. Mary's Oak Crossing, where the kids would spend a day every week playing board games, doing arts and crafts and visiting with the senior residents who live there.

"The kids love to go," said Moe. "Many of them don't know what it's like to go to a nursing home or assisted living."

And because the kids could choose which fieldtrips they could take each week, there were several club members who would go to Emmanuel or St. Mary's or Diamond Willow every week, she added.

"You always know which ones will want to go every time," she said, adding that going to three different places also gave them exposure to a variety of living environments.

Many of them would go home at the end of the day talking about "the new friend they made that day," Moe added.

The field trips served a two-fold purpose: they were a reward for good behavior, but also an opportunity for kids to act as ambassadors for the club outside in the community.

"They're representing the Boys & Girls Club, so they have to be on their best behavior," said Moe.

In addition to the summer camp activities, Moe said, the Boys & Girls Club also hosts a summer school for those Detroit Lakes students who need a little extra help with their reading, writing and math skills.

Three teachers come to the club for the one-on-one learning sessions, which run for three weeks in June and two weeks in August.

"Now, we're focusing on after school activities," said Moe, noting that these couple of weeks between the end of summer camp and the start of school are spent cleaning, painting and preparing the club for the fall.

Regular club hours will run from 3 to 5 p.m. every Monday through Friday while school is in session (excluding holidays).

Club activities include recreation and homework help as well as leadership and volunteer opportunities.

For more information about activities at the Boys and Girls Club during the school year, call 218-847-5700, or visit the website at boysandgirlsclubofdetroitlakes.org.

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Vicki Gerdes
Staff writer at Detroit Lakes Newspapers and editor of MN Boomers magazine for the past 13 years. Living in DL with my cat, Smokey.
(218) 847-3151
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