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Beat it: Drums Alive at DL Boys and Girls Club

Students from the Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes perform two songs, including one from 'Pirates of the Caribbean' and one from the Beach Boys. The songs were performed through a Drums Alive show for students and family members Monday night. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam

The Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes is marching to the beat of a little different drum these days.

Some of the kids at the club performed its first Drums Alive show for fellow club members and parents Monday night as part of family night.

The club is wrapping up its summer program today, closing down until the first day of school on Tuesday, Sept. 2.

The Drums Alive show is the first of more to come, as the program designed to help kids get a mind and body workout through drumming, movements and music, will now be incorporated into the club’s programming.

“It’s really fun because you get to play to music and do freestyle stuff sometimes,” said Brittney Balow, as her twin sister, Elizabeth adds, “It’s our first time doing it, but we’ll probably keep doing it this year.”

The twins are two of roughly a dozen children in grades two through four that practiced every Monday at the club.

“It’s a whole body, whole brain workout… social emotional… if you have anxieties or tensions it’s great to be able to do this,” said Diane McCormack, a pediatric occupational therapist for Essentia Health in Detroit Lakes.

McCormack has facilitated other Drums Alive programs in the region and hopes to continue to mentor Boys and Girls Club leaders who are now trained on the activity.

Although she has visited the club in the past year to introduce children there to Drums Alive, this time it’s there to stay.

McCormack and program director for the club, Tammy Skinner, worked together to write a grant that is helping fund the program.

Between the Springboard for the Arts and PartnerSHIP 4 Health organizations, the Boys and Girls Club of Detroit Lakes received $500 for Drums Alive equipment.

Drums Alive advocates like McCormack say its benefits to children are substantial.

“Socialization with their drum troop, creativity in coming up with new moves, information recall, and I think it builds their confidence,” said McCormack, who says it works the muscles and the minds at the same time.

Finding their niche

Drums Alive students weren’t the only ones finding themselves in a mini-club this summer.

Skinner says it was her goal this summer to create several little “clubs” for students in various age groups.

“K through first grade had ‘Art in the Orchard,’ we had a soccer club where students learned soccer over a four-day period, a dance club, a cribbage club…” said Skinner. “What we’re hoping kids learn is that this is something I’m committing to and that I’m part of a group.”

Skinner says the idea of these clubs will continue as the school program picks up, and in fact, she hopes participation in them grows as fall schedules get back to normal again.

Boys and Girls Club summer enrollment was strong again this year, with roughly 160 kids signed up and a daily average of around 90 kids.

Now as the club shuts down in preparation for the beginning of the school year, staff is busy revamping the areas and creating spaces grouped by activities again, rather than the summer-style club that keeps kids grouped by age.