Boys and Girls Club at EMS for Summer Camp

July 1, 2020 / Andrea Wenger
"Under the sea" is the theme for the Boys and Girls Club summer camp, held at EMS during July 2020
"Under the sea" is the theme for the Boys and Girls Club summer camp, held at EMS during July 2020

Thirty children will get a chance to enjoy a summer day camp experience with the Boys & Girls Clubs of Harrisonburg and Rockingham (BGCHR) in Eastern Mennonite School’s upper building for the month of July. Each day includes reading and other educational activities, physical exercise, and a hot meal and a snack for participants from 7 a.m. till 6:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

BGCHR needed a place to house the program because the Lucy Simms Center, where it is usually housed, is unavailable due to COVID-19. “Our board and staff are humbled by the opportunity EMS has provided to allow us to provide a silver-lining in the midst of what might have otherwise been a bleak summer for Boys & Girls Club families,” says Sandrea Quigg, executive director.

The collaborative partnership for July — until the Simms Center re-opens — includes EMS, Harrisonburg City Schools which is providing lunch each Tuesday through Friday, and Hope Distributed which provides Monday’s meals and snack.

BGCHR’s mission is to enable all young people, especially those who need us most, to reach their full potential as productive, caring, responsible citizens, says Quigg. “Camp is an important source of academic support, character-building, safety and nutrition.”

Participants pay a low rate of $45 per child with additional scholarships available to eliminate barriers as needed. The camp would normally serve 100 children, but due to physical distancing requirements due to COVID-19, the numbers are limited to families with parents who are current BGC members and actively working.

“We’re really glad to be able to support this important community program in a very small way,” says Paul Leaman, head of school. “It’s wonderful to hear children in the building again and know that their summer is still a time of joyful learning and play.”

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