Updated: Jul 28, 2020
Staff from the city of Annapolis’ REACH program ( Recreation, Education, Achievement, Communities and Health) recognized that, with the pandemic, some kids might not get to go to summer camp this year. So, they decided to bring summer camp to the kids!
The have developed the Summer Fun Box initiative and are looking for your help.
A Summer Fun Box is a self-guided kit of materials and self-directed projects that will be delivered to children in Annapolis over the summer. It allows them to engage in summer fun while they are faced with continuing restrictions that may make the goal of summer camp extra challenging this year.
The boxes are provided in two age categories. There are boxes for four to ten-year-olds, and another category of boxes for teens. The boxes can contain a wide range of items, from books and coloring books and squirt guns, to do-it-yourself kits and cooking kits.
REACH’s director, Ron-Shaye Clark, said the goal of the summer fun boxes is to allow kids to
play and do what they need to do as if they were in summer camp.
“At the REACH program, we usually have after-school programs with our young people,” she said “Since they can't come into the building (the Pip Moyer Recreation Center), we said to ourselves, you know, what can we do to bring this to them? This is an easier way for us to engage with them, to let them know that we're still here as Recreation and Parks, and the city of Annapolis. We just wanted to reach out to them and give them some type of fun. This is our first time actually doing it."
The program is looking for donations from the community to help fill the boxes. Clark said the goal is to create at least 100 boxes for at least 100 children.
REACH is an Annapolis after-school initiative for children in grades 6 through 12. It is designed to engage young people in a broad range of focus areas including academic support, mentoring, self-development, arts, sports and recreation.
During normal, non-pandemic summers the children usually have access to summer day camps like enrichment camp (an affordable traditional summer camp alternative), and Camp Annapolis (a day camp based out of the Recreation and Parks Department), and Splash camp—a day camp integrated with the public pool.
The camps will be modified this year to focus on more outdoor activities such as fishing and canoeing, Clark said. The children are missing the use of the Pip Moyer Recreation Center on Hilltop Lane where activities usually take place. Registration for camps has just opened.
“They gain relationships with people inside the building.” Clark said. “So you know, it's kind of taking a toll on them for them not to see us on a regular basis.”
Clark seems to miss the children as well. She said the current situation has put a damper on her life, but she has reached out to the families who often are involved in her program to touch base and see how they were coping.
“I have a passion,” she said. “This is not just something that I do. It's a passion of mine to be with young people and see them smile, and to see them engage in different activities, and wanting them to participate in different things to learn different things. And if I have to go to the extreme to make sure that they have the best summer possible than that's definitely what I would have done.”
The boxes are expected to be handed out in weeks to come at an event held in conjunction with the Feed
To connect with Ms. Clark about how you can help call her at 302-982-5221 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org